AIA Kansas City: The American Institute of Architects

Power & Light Bridge – Zinc Cladding
  • Architect: Helix Architecture + Design; Craftsman: A. Zahner Company

  • Kansas City, Missouri

This project is not a bridge for people or cars, but for the primary electricity conduits that feed downtown Kansas City. The bridge, a simple utilitarian truss structure that is clad with a black zinc skin and filled with pulsating light, spans an interstate highway moat that divides the creative Crossroads Arts District and the new Power & Light Entertainment District, two of Kansas City’s key nightlife attractions.

The zinc cladding, through the use of bumps and perforations, tells the story of the bridge’s simple function, to transport electricity. Taking inspiration from the physics of three phase electrical power, sine waves are represented by two arcing movements of perforations on the cladding. A third sine wave is represented through form, giving the skin undulations and shadows. The cladding was also punched with small bumps of varying depths, representing a field of electrons through which electricity moves.