Wichita: Bridges over Kellogg Design Process
A five-mile highway improvement east of downtown Wichita, the Kellogg project makes a grand gesture through the plains. Using the influences of local geology, industry, history, and the imagery of wind through the prairie, we sought to contextualize this stretch of road. The highway runs through a stepped canyon of wavy walls with wind and grass patterns planted with native landscaping. Crossing this canyon are two bridges. This bridges need to span the site and relate back to it. We created this link by adding form to their sides, transforming basic bridges into sculptural elements.
Influenced by streamlined aeronautic forms, our first bridges had modified concrete barrier rails. Shaping these necessary safety elements elevates them beyond typical highway barriers into sculptural gestures that pull one’s eyes through the site.
Our design process involved exploring many iterations and selecting the most fitting for the bridge. Our goal was to tie the curving walls into the bridge with a fluid movement while also establishing a special moment on the bridge.
When modifying the concrete barrier became unfeasible, we move to a concept of mesh screens attached to the bridges. The mesh screens would add form and lighten the appearance of the bridge. At night, they would be illuminated to create beacons at each bridge. The mesh related back to air and sky through both its material and its aeronautic shape.
MKEC Engineering Consultants Inc.
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