ICP for 75th Anniversary

Winter 2013

The Golden Gate Bridge gets a gift of concrete pavers


ICP for 75th Anniversary

The Golden Gate Bridge at the entrance of San Francisco Bay has been an American icon since its completion in 1937. For its 75th anniversary, as “gifts to the bridge,” the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy, in partnership with the Golden Gate Bridge District and the U.S. National Park Service, commissioned the Golden Gate Bridge Plaza and Pavilion.

bridge2The pavilion visitor center and surrounding plaza, with 17,700 sf (1,770 m2) of concrete pavers, now greet and inform 10 million annual visitors who photograph, walk and bike the iconic bridge.

The central plaza’s slender proportions echo those of the bridge towers. Narrow, modular pavers create an alternating pattern of light and dark for an optical effect similar to the moiré pattern of the bridge cables, as seen while driving across the bridge. Long, transverse bands composed of thin pavers are reminiscent of the massive cables supporting the bridge, each comprised of many thinner cables.

The project’s designers, Surfacedesign Inc. of San Francisco, chose narrow modular pavers to express these visual themes through subtle paver coloring and their distinctive shapes. The paving supports constant pedestrian use and occasional vehicle access. The designers also wanted a pavement that could be seamlessly repaired after the inevitability of the Bridge District requiring access to aging utility lines that cross beneath the site.

The plaza and pavilion were built concurrently in winter 2011-12 by an ICPI member contractor and supplied by an ICPI manufacturing member. The project required completion for the citywide bridge anniversary celebration in May 2012. With pavers, the general contractor was able to use them as a platform for building walls and curb construction. Moreover, the sand-set concrete pavers enabled installation in wet weather, which could not have been done with poured concrete paving. Given the tight schedule, the pavement was finished on time, yet allows for partial removal for future exhibits and furnishings.