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Great Wall of Los Angeles: Interpretive Green Bridge
Thursday, 21 June 2012 20:56


The Great Wall of Los Angeles Interpretive “Green” Bridge

Begun in 1976 and completed over five summers, the Great Wall employed over 400 youth and their families from diverse, social and economic backgrounds working with artists, oral historians, ethnologists, scholars, and hundreds of community members.  "The Great Wall" is painted on the concrete retaining wall of the Tujunga Wash in the San Fernando Valley.   SPARC recently restored “The Great Wall of Los Angeles” mural in 2011, a half-mile long monument and a landmark to the history of people of color and other ethnic groups in California from prehistoric times to the 1950’s. In addition to restoring the mural, SPARC will be constructing a new solar-lit “green” bridge with interpretive stations, and constructing five additional stations along the wall to provide access to the historical content of the mural.

Judy Baca and SPARC have collaborated with wHY Architecture to complete the designs for the “Green Bridge” which will be solar lit and composed in part from the debris of the Los Angeles River with interpretive panels along the expanse of the Bridge from which the public can view the River and the ½ mile of mural along its banks. A site plan, elevations for the bridge, materials, budget, schedule of construction have been completed for the bridge. A full model of the bridge has been built reviewed by County and City department representatives. The new Great Wall Interpretive “Green” Bridge will replace the former bridge which crossed the Tujunga Wash Flood control Channel between Miranda Street and Hatteras Street on the west side of Coldwater Canyon Blvd. The new bridge will function not only as a point to cross the Tujunga wash but also as a viewing station and interpretive center to view the Great Wall of Los Angeles mural and the Los Angeles River.


Materials and Construction:

The structure of the bridge will consist of prefabricated built-up plate steel girders, steel framing and new poured concrete footings. The finishing material will consist of prefabricated textured fiberglass concrete panels on the sides of the footbridge and canopy, and composite plastic impregnated wood decking on walk able surfaces.  End panels will be troweled stone face plaster over steel framing with guardrails constructed of powder-coated steel for durability. The look will be one of layered sediment with broken glass, and other plastic debris common to the river. The roof of the canopy will consist of aluminum framed, clear glass panels with thin film photovoltaic strips. Photovoltaic cells will collect solar energy and distribute back to the department of water and power, monitored by PV meters. On the underside of the canopy will be a clear skylight finished with two layers of laminated polycarbonate panels with images of the River and the Great Wall silk screened on film and sandwiched between them. Light will filter through this skylight during the day illuminating the images. The total impact of the bridge will be that it will be an instructional site about the river and the history of the diverse people of Los Angeles while it reconnects the two sides of the channel.