BISECTED VIEW | Northeastern University PedX
This past fall, the Northeastern University Pedestrian Crossing reached a critical milestone when the primary spans were lifted into place during two nights of scheduled railway shut-downs. The pedestrian bridge is part of the University’s plan to link its Huntington Avenue Campus with a new academic precinct along Columbus Avenue, connecting the Fenway and Roxbury neighborhoods of Boston. The PedX will span the intervening MBTA and Amtrak rail lines, leading students to the ISEC’s six-story atrium, a new hub for the expanded campus.
The design of the bridge creates two distinct views. Due to the location of the bridge, passing over the MBTA’s Orange Line train tracks, the bridge had to follow MBTA and commuter line railing height restrictions. This limited the height of the bridge railings to be at a minimum of 10’ at the track location; however, the railing height grew to be as high as 18’ to splay the railings outward instead of having roll-overs at the top.
The bridge also had structural constraints that also affected the depth of the railing. The team worked with Arup to develop a curved bridge that allowed for only one deep structural beam on the west-side, leaving more design freedom for views on the east side. To mitigate this funneled view over the tracks the team created detailing that starts to separate the steel wall on the east into fins infilled with glass, creating small framed viewing slots. The west side of the railing also allows for mini framed views through a tight perforated pattern that couldn’t be more than 1” big.