The Transforming Seattle's 520 Floating Bridge 2012 International Design Ideas Competition is challenging the design and art communities to envision new, innovative reuse strategies. The 520 bridge will be decommissioned in 2014 due to high maintenance costs, damage, and the need for additional lanes. The Washington State Department of Transportation is requiring of the new bridge's design-build team that it be reused or recycled in a sustainable fashion; current trends for the reuse of pontoons have been floating docks, breakwaters and piers, but what else could be done with such a feat of engineering?
Infrastructure reuse has recently made headlines in architecture. Some examples include the High Line in New York, which converted a raised railroad track into a linear park; Kraanspoor in Amsterdam, a project which built an office complex atop a concrete shipyard craneway; and the current debate on New York's Tappan Zee Bridge, which many are hoping to see reused as a park. The design community has begun to step up and take on challenges of large scale; this competition seeks to push that innovation one step further.
The Transforming Seattle's 520 Floating Bridge 2012 International Design Ideas Competition seeks design proposals which either utilize the bridge in its current state or take the bridge apart and reuse its pontoons at a new site on Lake Washington, Lake Union or in the Puget Sound in Washington State. Designers need to constantly assert the need for advancement in creative reuse; our ideas drive design forward. What is a floating bridge when its function is no longer needed? What can designers do when faced with the design problem of reusing thirty-three floating concrete pontoons?