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Steel-and-Glass Bridge Wins Award

Monday, August 31, 2015

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A creative steel-and-glass design for a new pedestrian bridge in Columbus, OH, earned national recognition for the project team who designed and built it.

For its inventive approach to engineering and architecture, the Hilton Columbus Downtown High Street Bridge is a Merit award winner in a category for projects costing less than $15 million, the American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC) announced Aug. 24.

AISC / Macbeth Photo

The Hilton Columbus Downtown High Street Bridge is a Merit award winner in an IDEAS2 category for projects costing less than $15 million.

It is one of only seven projects in the U.S. to receive the Merit honor, according to AISC.

The award is part of AISC’s 2015 Innovative Design in Engineering and Architecture with Structural Steel awards program (IDEAS2), an annual competition that recognizes outstanding achievement in engineering and architecture on structural steel projects across the country.

The prestigious IDEAS2 award calls out the importance of teamwork, coordination and collaboration in fostering successful construction projects in the structural steel industry.

Forming a Bridge

The pedestrian bridge links Columbus’s new Hilton Columbus Downtown hotel to the adjacent Greater Columbus Convention Center across High Street, the main thoroughfare through downtown Columbus.

The design consists of a 105-foot-long enclosed glass walkway supported by a single overhead steel tube and suspended ribs.

The entire enclosure of the bridge—floors and walls—is primarily glass. The result is a sense of physical and material lightness and visual transparency that is meant to stand out against the external, heavy-truss pedestrian bridges throughout Columbus.


The design consists of a 105-foot-long enclosed glass walkway supported by a single overhead steel tube and suspended ribs.

The unitized module of the 138-ton bridge was fabricated and shipped as small components that were then assembled and glazed on site prior to lifting the entire structure into place.

All building services, including air, water and lighting, are delivered through the overhead 48-in. steel tube or discretely within the glass walkway, maximizing the height of the interior space.

“This creative skeletal steel structure fully integrates environmental systems within its spine—just one of many creative solutions to the project’s challenges,” said one awards judge, Peter G. Lynde, P.E. vice president and corporate director of Albert Kahn Associates, Detroit.

The bridge’s project team members include:

  • Owner: Franklin County Convention Facilities Authority, Columbus;
  • Owner’s Representative: Strategic Advisory Group, Duluth;
  • Architect: HOK, Chicago;
  • Structural Engineer: Halvorson and Partners, Chicago; and
  • General Contractor: Turner/Smoot joint venture, Columbus.

“The entire Hilton Columbus Downtown High Street Bridge project team has shown how structural steel can be used to create structures that combine beauty and practicality,” said AISC president Roger E. Ferch, P.E.

“The result is a pedestrian bridge that serves the city extremely well, while providing an example of what can be achieved when designing and constructing projects with steel.”

Awarding Innovation

A ceremony was held Aug. 26 on the new bridge to present the project team members with their awards. The awards ceremony included a dedication of the bridge by local dignitaries, including Columbus Mayor Michael B. Coleman.


The glass enclosure gives the bridge a sense of physical and material lightness and visual transparency.

Each year, the IDEAS2 awards honor National and Merit award winners in three categories, based on constructed value:

  • Projects less than $15 million;
  • Projects $15 million to $75 million; and
  • Projects greater than $75 million.

Each project is judged on its use of structural steel from an architectural and structural engineering perspective, with an emphasis on:

  • Creative solutions to project’s program requirements;
  • Applications of innovative design approaches in areas such as connections, gravity systems, lateral load resisting systems, fire protection and blast;
  • Aesthetic and visual impact of the project;
  • Innovative use of architecturally exposed structural steel (AESS);
  • Technical or architectural advances in the use of the steel; and
  • The use of innovative design and construction methods.

AISC, headquartered in Chicago, is a not-for-profit technical institute and trade association established in 1921 to serve the structural steel design community and construction industry.

Its mission is to make structural steel the material of choice by being the leader in structural steel-related technical and market-building activities, including: specification and code development, research, education, technical assistance, quality certification, standardization, and market development.


Tagged categories: American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC); Architecture; Awards and honors; Bridges; Glass; HOK ; Structural steel

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