Portland Aerial Tramway Competition

2000–2003 | Portland OR

Client Portland Aerial Tram, Incorporated
Lead Designer and Structural Engineer Guy Nordenson and Associates
Architect Architecture Research Office
Landscape Designer Catherine Seavitt Studio

As invited finalists in an international competition for a new aerial tramway, Guy Nordenson and Associates served as lead designer and structural engineer, in collaboration with Catherine Seavitt Studio and Architecture Research Office, for the design of tram stations at Marquam Hill and South Waterfront, a central support tower/landmark, a pedestrian bridge, and a waterfront park. The main tramway support tower rises to a height of 328ft (100m) as a stand of eight tall tree-like pillars collected by a winding ribbon of steel. Because it would act as a landmark, the tower design is taller than the minimum required to support the tramway cables; however, the tower design is extremely economical and comparable in cost to a shorter more conventional design and would greatly facilitate the construction of the bridge by allowing the use of temporary stays for cantilever construction.

The bridge is wide and designed as a folded surface of structure, platforms, trellises and walk and bike-ways. The walls and trellises shelter the pedestrians and bikers from the noise of the highway encouraging them to pause even along the way. It will be built in segments 20ft long of thin steel plate and box beams.