In California, a lizard-inspired pedestrian bridge

SPF:architects has completed construction of a new crosswalk crossing over a freeway at the edge of Lost Hills Park, north of Los Angeles.

In California, crossing the Paso Robles Highway at the eastern edge of Lost Hills, SPF:architects has just completed construction of a winding pedestrian facility. The project, completed this year, connects Lost Hills Park to the north with a preschool and College Prep Academy to the south. Cut off by a busy highway with only one controlled intersection, the hamlet of Lost Hills, prior to the construction of the Wonder Bridge, was essentially cut in half. Transited by large trucks, the highway posed a significant barrier to pedestrians trying to cross safely.

SPF:architects, Wonder Bridge, Lost Hills, California, 2024. Courtesy SPF:architects

The main challenge of the architecture was to connect the northern and southern halves of Lost Hills. As a significant infrastructural work in an otherwise flat landscape, it also serves as a gateway to the area with a strong identity.

Formally, the architecture is inspired by the curl of a lizard's tail, thus presenting itself as a sinuous structure protected by a sculptural parapet in bright green. The bridge span is in fact a typical 176-foot concrete structure, slightly modified to accommodate the parapet reinforcement that culminates in a heart shape in the center of the structure.

The resulting spiral shape provides a gentle transition and ease of access from ground level to the required 6 meters above the roadway, meeting the required grade.

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