After visiting the new Vancouver library, we went over to Fort Vancouver, which has the most beautiful vegetable garden and some great examples of plank construction.
Conveniently located next door is the Vancouver Land Bridge, which connects pedestrian facilities on two sides of a busy highway. The bridge was designed by Johnpaul Jones as part of the Confluence Project, a series of new places designed to commemorate the tribes who used to gather here at the confluence of the Columbia and Willamette Rivers. The project is overseen by Maya Lin, who I would imagine has at least some influence in the design. The relationship between the two architects for the design of this project is a little confusing to me, so if someone can clear that up, I’d appreciate it. I must say that this project definitely feels more Johnpaul Jones than it does Maya Lin.
The most striking images that I’ve seen of this project are aerial photos. In plan, it’s absolutely beautiful. To be perfectly honest, though, while walking through it we didn’t get quite the sense of “completing the circle,” which seemed so obvious in plan. The trail itself wiggles back and forth while following the primary curve; the smaller wiggles seem to distort the larger curve.
Another striking thing about the bridge is the juxtaposition of the soft form of the land bridge with the hard forms of the highway and the Fort. I thought this was particularly apropos given the history of all three: The Fort was a destination for fur traders with the Hudson’s Bay Company. The highway is another artifact of westward expansion, a new iteration of the Oregon Trail. Westward expansion had an obvious and disastrous impact on native populations, commemorated by the bridge.