Desert Companion
 
Subscribe now
Current Issue
JULY 2014
Click the cover to read the complete digital edition
Features
Dealicious Meals

Departments
All things to all people
Community
Editor's Note
End Note
Notes and letters
Take 5
the guide
upcoming events
Take 5
You’re all, Boston and Cheap Trick are old dudes, dude, and we’re like, Yeah, but at least one of those bands can still...   
July 26, 7p. From musical improv to crazy games, you will enjoy being part of the action as you help create what goes on the stage. Clean-burning,...   
July 26, 8p. This Las Vegas based, all original, 12-piece super-band masterfully blends soul, R&B, jazz, funk, pop and classical styles to...   
  0

Colorado River Bridge

Few structures still stand tall in Southern Nevada after 75 years -- and fewer that do still leave you in awe. But standing on the Hoover Dam, it's still inspiring to peer over the edge into the river far below your feet. (Even more impressive is the fact this structure was conceived in four years with a total of 76 drawings - and without computers.) Now the newly opened Colorado River Bridge complements the dam's sense of power with a touch of grace.

That's complement, not compete. It's hard for anything to compete with the enormity of the dam -- besides the sheer canyon walls it spans. But where Hoover Dam relies on force of mass to inspire, the new Colorado River Bridge spans the canyon walls with a slenderness of form. Its arch frames the distant mountains while also recalling the dam's massive concrete backside. The bridge stands in sharp contrast to the bulk of the dam, enabling a dialogue between them.

However, outside that dialogue, the Colorado River Bridge (formally known as the Mike O'Callaghan-Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge) is also feat in itself. Slender upright columns supported off a graceful arch appear to suspend the bridge in air. The form should not just be seen as a means to speed travel to Arizona, but seen from the dam as you envision humanity's pure desire to overcome obstacles and dream.

But with the concrete structure's simplicity of form, have we lost the intricate detailing of a steel bridge, with girders and beams that would have added both delicacy and drama? If it had been a cable suspension bridge, would its form be overshadowed by the dam's weight?

These questions aren't intended to detract from this engineering marvel, but rather to raise the question of the impact design has on our everyday lives. From objects we take for granted to our city roads, have we accepted just getting things done over potential aesthetic delight and function? For instance, what if the bridge had included a pedestrian bypass to a visitor's center or a restaurant hung from the apex of the arch? Can you imagine your astonishment overlooking the gorge or looking back onto the dam at night, lit in all its beauty? No more would we just have pictures of the dam taken from helicopters, but we ourselves could stand witness to its power and beauty. In solving everyday transportation issues, we cannot continue to ignore their inherent ability to inspire and celebrate life and travel.

On my recent trip to view the bridge, there was another admirer there who joked about the frightening prospect of bungee jumping off it. I much prefer my feet on the stability of the dam to appreciate this new engineering marvel - one mere feet from another Southern Nevada original we've called our own for 75 years.

Architect Eric Strain is principal of Assemblage Studio. Among his current projects is College Villas, a community-focused senior housing project in Henderson.

Comments





























































 

Best Doctor
Play the desert companion video

DC Scene
Recent Posts
7/25/14  
You can call me al fresco
7/24/14  
A shady deal (the good kind!)
7/22/14  
Hey, you using that blood?
{more posts...}


Archives
Archives

Newstand Locations
Pick up your Desert Companion today at one of these Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf or Jamba Juice locations.
Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf LAKE MEAD & TENAYA
7291 W Lake Mead
Directions


PALMS CASINO
4321 W Flamingo Rd
Directions


UNLV
4550 W Maryland Pkwy Suite A
Directions


CARNIVALE
3377 Las Vegas Blvd
The Venetian Food Court
Directions


THE LAKES
9091 W Sahara Ave
Directions


THE DISTRICT
2220 Village Walk Dr Suite 140
Directions


MIRACLE MILE
3663 Las Vegas Blvd S Suite 45
Directions


CANYON POINT
10834 W Charleston Blvd Suite 200
Directions


TOWN CENTER
3645 S Town Center Dr Suite 101
Directions


PATRICK
6115 S Rainbow Blvd Suite 101
Directions


PALAZZO
3265 Las Vegas Blvd, Suite 1600
Directions


TOWN SQUARE
6599 Las Vegas Blvd, South #P-8149
Directions


BRIDGE
3377 Las Vegas Blvd
The Venetian
Directions


BOULDER CITY
Boulder Dam Credit Union
530 Avenue G
Boulder City NV
Directions

Jumba Juice

PEBBLE
1500 N. Green Valley Pkwy Suite 240
Directions


SAHARA & EASTERN
2675 S. Eastern Ave Suite 400
Directions


MCCARRAN MARKETPLACE
5905 S Eastern Ave Suite 108
Directions
NORTH MESA PLAZA
1829 W. Craig Road Unit 3
Directions


CANNERY CORNER
2546 E. Craig Road Suite 135
Directions


WESTLAND FAIR
1121 S. Decatur Blvd
Directions



Also available at Clark County and Henderson libraries.
Emerald City Smoothie

ST GEORGE
2376 East Red Cliffs Drive #502
St. George, UT 84790
Directions


Desert Companion