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Lake Beluthahatchee, FL


Design Completed 2005, Construction TBD


Stetson Kennedy Foundation




Bridge Designer

The pedestrian bridge is the initial component of The Stetson Kennedy Foundation Center, serving as a memorial to the ideals of the Foundation: “… to do all that it can to help carry forward mankind’s unending struggle for human rights in a free, peaceful, harmonies, democratic, just, humane, bounteous and joyful world, to nurture our cultural heritages, and to discharge our commitment of stewardship over Mother Earth faithfully…” The project site, near Jacksonville, is significant as a point of arrival to the foundation and a refuge for wildlife species. It also serves as a literary and artistic refuge for the client, an eminent human rights pioneer who infiltrated and exposed the Ku Klux Klan and other hate groups.

The bridge will be a welcoming gesture giving access to visitors to the Foundation grounds, but most importantly represent the struggle that Stetson Kennedy stood for, "bridging" differences and finding common humanity. The tensile structure suspended bridge is fabricated from materials compatible with the surroundings, optimizing the structure's efficiency, and mitigating impact on its natural site. Layered wood microlam sections and steel plate spacers increase rigidity and reduce weight. Stainless steel embed joints spliced into the sections reinforce the high-stress areas and facilitate fabrication. Each finger forms a rigid component resistant to winds and excessive movement while suspending the wood lattice platform.

Excepts from " A Letter to Stetson"

…... "Echoing its wooded context, the bridge rises from the undergrowth, in a sense breaking away from convention, freeing itself from the forces of gravity, and reaching up as do the surrounding trees, as they are required to survive in the forest. The paired supports for the bridge adapt this form, rooted on opposite sides of the valley and merging at the center. In a sense, these "wings" are perceived as a part of their surroundings and in dialogue with it, form an efficient suspension structure. The two bodies participate in a "dance of forces" in dynamic equilibrium over the valley. The complexity as well as the dynamic nature of the "dance" alludes to the complexity of bridging personal and cultural differences and the significance that compromise and union can foster in the human spirit."

"To a visitor, the bridge will seem to transform as it is encircled, approached, and entered. The wings will seem to separate or combine into a unified whole depending on one’s location. One will be lifted and suspended weightlessly over the Lake Beluthahatchee by the open wood lattice walkway and embraced as well as shaded by the canopy of the folding wings".

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