The new Tanderrum Pedestrian Bridge links Birrarung Marr with the Melbourne Park sports precinct and creates a major new arrival address for Melbourne Park. The bridge serves as a major pedestrian entrance point during the Australian Open. A ramping pathway through Birrarung Marr leads to the bridge proper and its alignment respects the established bridges and landscape topography of the park.
In our design, we make an important connection between the historic landscape of Speakers Corner and the outside tennis courts of Melbourne Park across Batman Avenue. Both of these existing spaces are steeped in egalitarian and democratic values - one with a history of regular citizens speaking freely on any subject; the other where a player of any ranking can pick up a tennis racquet in one of the sport’s great precincts.
The bridge design is slender, a flat steel girder structure that tapers at its edges to achieve the required span across Batman Avenue. The bridge undercroft follows the slope of the existing landscape thus eliminating low forming spaces and settles the bridge into the landscape. The lightweight filigree character of the steel structure provides the framework for a journey which branches into a connective path to Middle Terrace and provides views through toward the Yarra River, Birrarung Marr, and the city.
Fabricated steel plate box girder beams
Fabricated 34mm diameter steel tube 'filigree' balustrading
Poured in place concrete piers
A filigree of steel pipes wraps the bridge section in three segments. The sides are repeatable while each middle belly is unique. The bridge’s unique geometry that follows the topography, spurs to a lookout point and rises over the highway creating many unique conditions that made standardization of the steel pipes a challenge. It was essential to break the filigree into zones of repeating elements to minimize fabrication time and cost. In the diagram, orange represents fully customized sections and the remaining colors represent sections of repeating units. Each section of filigree is composed of 5 different bend geometries which are mixed and matched to create the illusion of a random pattern. Each segment is integrated with the guard rail mounted to the edge of the bridge structure and wraps the underside. Shop mock-ups were critical to finalizing the minimum radius of the filigree pipe bends and the detail of attachment hardware.
Apart from its inherent program to enable pedestrian circulation and its stealth integration into the landscape, the recycled steel rods also are designed to be a trellis for the local flora of its surrounding park land.
Urban Context and Accessible/Universal Design
The key objectives of the pedestrian bridge included:
- Creation of a new entrance into Melbourne Park;
- Provision of strong legible link from the CDB to Melbourne Park;
- Improving access for pedestrians traveling from the CDB to Melbourne Park;
- Improving universal access and providing a safe route that eliminates the need for patrons to cross Batman Avenue at street level.
NADAAA is a Boston and New York-based architecture and urban design firm led by principal designer Nader Tehrani, in collaboration with partners Katherine Faulkner and Daniel Gallagher. NADAAA is a platform for design investigation at a large scale and with a great geographic reach. NADAAA's projects range in scale from furniture to architecture and urban design, with a focus on craft, construction, and digital fabrication. NADAAA'S staff of twenty designers brings expertise from academia, graphic design, construction, and business. The firm has received the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Award in Architecture, the American Academy of Arts and Letters Architecture Award, the Harleston Parker Award, the Hobson Award, numerous AIA AWARDS, and 16 Progressive Architecture awards. Since 2013, NADAAA has been ranked among the Top 3 Design Firms in the U.S. in Architect Magazine's Top 50 Firms List.