Chihuly Bridge of Glass
"This will be the gateway that welcomes people to Tacoma. We wanted something unique in the world, something that has a lot of color, a joyous experience, night or day." —Chihuly
"Chihuly was adamant from the start that the bridge needed to be a place for people, not an abstract construct understood only by a few in the art world." —Andersson
The Chihuly Bridge of Glass is a 500-foot-long pedestrian bridge linking downtown Tacoma, Washington, to the city's waterfront, the Thea Foss Waterway. Conceived by Dale Chihuly, artist and native of Tacoma, and designed in collaboration with Arthur Andersson of Andersson·Wise Architects, it is a display of color and form soaring seventy feet into the air. The Chihuly Bridge of Glass, commissioned by the Museum of Glass: International Center for Contemporary Art, was gifted by the museum to the city of Tacoma. On July 6, 2002, the bridge was dedicated and opened to the public.
"Dale and I studied the great bridges of the world. We discovered they all had one thing in common: they all spanned a river, gorge, or some other natural obstacle. Our context is different: our river is a river of cars and trains; our gorge is a gorge of concrete and metal."—Andersson
The Chihuly Bridge of Glass, which crosses Interstate 705, links the Washington State History Museum with the Museum of Glass. The design phase of the bridge began in 1994. Chihuly and Andersson initially proposed that the bridge feature five small structures, inspired by glasshouses, each containing an installation of Chihuly's glass. As the project developed, Chihuly became more interested in large-scale sculptural installations. The collaboration between artist and architect evolved, as did their thinking of the size and character of the bridge installations.