Spanning the Providence River and resting on old I-95 piers, the new Pedestrian Bridge would become an important moment along a continuum of existing and planned spaces. In order to secure the importance this future landmark deserves, team !melk created a design that uses tradition both as a touchstone and a launching pad, an approach we feel is fitting for an area ready to identify as a center of innovation and knowledge. Looking north at the bridge from Point Street shows the gentle rise and fall of a symmetrical, curvilinear form with breathing room under the middle spans to accommodate boat traffic, but the approach to the bridge on either riverbank reveals a dynamic and lively surface. The meandering, gently sloping centerline forms the pedestrian armature, which then gives way to dips and bends along the edges. The larger gestures become articulated into discrete spaces with the elevation change, transitioning from the pedestrian flow into dramatic gathering spaces--setting an urban stage. In rural New England, the theme of the wooden “Covered Bridges” is well known. Since the early 1800’s, these infrastructural landmarks, generally constructed with an integrated truss system, give an extra dimension to the region’s picturesque landscape. Loosely referring to these historic wooden bridges - using the same material and construction principles - we have named the pedestrian bridge in Providence “the Uncovered Bridge,” since it reinterprets a traditional bridge structure into something more like a large podium that will provide stunning views of the surroundings, including the eventual parks on the east & west banks. Rather than merely connecting two points along separated shores, this bridge becomes both an extension and a playful exaggeration of the ground plane, calling attention to it and providing a platform from which the heart of the city can be understood. We felt it was important to envision a spectacular design that would allow the user to relate to, and situate herself within the greater urban context. As such, this bridge accomplishes the crucial function of connecting the riverbanks, but becomes much more: a visual landmark, a destination, a venue, a casual gathering space and a key linkage along a larger greenway. The provision for various movement patterns is accomplished through weaving the barely sloping main thoroughfare between the more topographically articulated gathering areas. On either side of the main path - as the face of the bridge curves up and down, the surface subtly shifts and ribbons of decking emerge to create natural seating and gathering spaces, shaded by native Red Oak (Quercus Rubra) trees. The “Uncovered Bridge” provides vistas towards Downtown Providence and also towards the Waterfire events on the North side and towards Point Street Bridge and the harbor on the South side.