215 Park Avenue South, 1901
New York, NY 10003
212 962 6307

Wave Bridge

Indianapolis, IN

Program

Multi-modal Bridge

Client

16 Tech Community Corporation

Collaborators

Structural Engineering:
sbp

Transportation Engineering:
Shrewsberry

Wayfinding:
Moniteurs

Landscape Architecture:
Martha Schwartz Partners (MSP)

Local Design Collaborators:
People for Urban Progress (PUP)

Size

342' Long, 65' Wide

Status

Ongoing

Located less than two miles from the heart of Indianapolis, and just across Fall Creek from Indy’s top healthcare, academic, and corporate institutions, the 16 Tech Innovation District is a 50-acre community dedicated to fostering world-changing innovation and economic opportunity. The Wave Bridge spans the creek to connect the district to Indianapolis’ research/medical corridor and the downtown community. The 342ft-long bridge will also link the 16 Tech Innovation District to the city’s wider trail and greenway network, including the Indianapolis Cultural Trail.

Working as part of a larger interdisciplinary team, PAU designed the Wave Bridge in collaboration with local communities. During six months of community engagement, which included education on the design process itself, the design team made special efforts to reach residents of Indianapolis’ near West and near Northwest neighborhoods through mailers, online surveys, virtual meetings, a VOIP hotline in English and Spanish, as well as in-person outreach via a street team, site walks, and a partnership with a local STEM-based school. Four key aspects emerged from the community engagement process which guided the bridge design: history and heritage, safety and accessibility, trails and connections, and programming and events. In listening to the community, the design team heard the desire for the bridge to be an accessible public space that feels safe and inclusive; a central node to the rich network of trails in Indianapolis; and to provide a connection to its natural surroundings.

The bridge scheme reflects this community feedback and responds to the site’s unique natural conditions. One of the most striking features of Fall Creek is the seclusion created by the lines of trees on either side. The bridge design borrows inspiration from this beautiful setting, creating tree-like vertical supports that mimic the trunk and branches of a tree. The bridge’s defining attribute, its undulating steel ribbon, also mirrors the natural profile of Fall Creek itself, rising with the tree canopies on either side of the waterway and lowering towards the center to create unobstructed views up and down the Creek. In plan, the bridge curves gently outwards on its Eastern edge, offering a cantilevered gathering space suspended over the water. This area invites passersby to take a moment and linger, enjoy each other’s company, connect, and pause to appreciate the view.

Alongside these experiential considerations, the bridge’s layout gives priority to pedestrians and cyclists by creating generously protected pathways separated from vehicular traffic. With over half of its square footage dedicated to non-vehicular use, the selected design will be the first of more than 500 bridges in Marion County with such proportions, helping to create a safe, accessible, and enjoyable crossing for all users.