'Unnoticed' bridge in Bowring Park to get facelift, recognition for architectural significance
Bridge designed by Ove Arup, structural engineer for Sydney Opera House
A bridge built in Bowring Park by a world-renowned structural engineer might get some recognition after falling by the wayside since its construction more than 50 years ago.
While the last St. John's city council had committed to partnering with the Bowring Park Foundation to revitalize the bridge, no work was completed.
The new council, which sat for the first time four weeks ago, is making it a priority.
"I'm looking forward to getting this moving because I think it is something we should showcase," said Jamie Korab, the new councillor for Ward 3, where the park is located.
The bridge was commissioned in the late 1950s, to be funded by the Canadian National Railway.
It was designed by Ove Arup, the man known around the world for being the structural engineer for the iconic Sydney Opera House in Australia.
He designed the bridge in a cantilever style, meaning it is anchored on only one end. The other end hovers slightly above the ground with stairs extending outwards.
In 1966, Arup reportedly called the bridge his favourite piece of work, along with the Sydney Opera House.
He was bestowed British knighthood for his work in 1971, and died in 1988.
Despite leaving his stamp on the world of structural engineering, his bridge in Bowring Park has remained largely unrecognized. Today, it has trees growing around it and its base is covered in graffiti.
A testament to its lack of recognition, Korab said he didn't even know about the bridge until Deputy Mayor Sheilagh O'Leary mentioned it to him a few weeks ago.
It's totally an asset, and something that should be revered.- Sheilagh O'Leary
Korab met with the head of the Bowring Park Foundation on Monday morning to discuss plans for the bridge, which both the city and the foundation hope will include a plaque explaining its history.
While she believes the bridge has been underappreciated to date, O'Leary said it will soon be honoured for the architectural significance it holds. Funding has already been set aside, she said, split between the city and the park foundation.
Council will discuss plans for the bridge next week.
"Sometimes these things go unnoticed," O'Leary said. "Sometimes they go off the registry. But with our renewed interest certainly in our built heritage, we are starting to understand.
"It's totally an asset, and something that should be revered and highlighted as an asset in our community."