UTA Students compete in Campus Bridge Redesign

Wednesday, Jan 25, 2023

“Bridging the Gap: The North Bridge, South Bridge Competition” is more than just a two-week design event. It’s a chance for students to become a part of University of Texas at Arlington history.

UTA President Jennifer Cowley challenged College of Architecture, Planning and Public Affairs (CAPPA) students to reimagine the design of the north and south pedestrian bridges over Cooper Street. All of the graduate and undergraduate design studios in CAPPA will devote the first two weeks of classes to taking on this challenge.

“This is a wonderful opportunity for students and faculty to not only contribute to the University, but also to become part of UTA’s history,” said Austin Allen, CAPPA interim associate dean and associate professor of practice in architecture. “We’ve been letting faculty know that the winning team may get an opportunity to work or participate with the professional design team hired by UTA.”

Prizes for the top three submissions are $1,250, $1,000 and $750. Winners will be announced at a Saturday, Feb. 11, celebration with food, music and a parade over the bridges.

The bridges spanning Cooper Street opened in 1990. For many motorists and Arlington residents, these bridges constitute their only glimpse of UTA as they drive past campus. The road slopes down, hiding views of the Library Courtyard, stately Texas Hall and the campus’ 420 acres of trees, greenspace and more than 100 buildings, some dating back to 1919.

Allen said the broader aim of the competition is to bridge the gap between UTA's east and west campuses by redesigning the “UTA Connecting Corridor” along Cooper Street.

Cowley and a prestigious panel of industry professionals will serve as judges for the contest. City of Arlington residents, UTA faculty, students and staff will all be invited to help judge the entries. The criteria for the competition can be found on the CAPPA website.

“This is a chance to impact not just the UTA campus, but all of Arlington,” said Maria Martinez-Cosio, CAPPA’s interim dean. “I’m looking forward to our students coming up with the most innovative ideas concerning not just the bridges, but the corridor, then working with a design firm to translate their concepts into a design statement that is worthy of our world-class city and university.”

Project funding for the bridges will come from the UT System Library, Equipment, Repair and Rehabilitation fund. Prize funding comes from CAPPA and University administration.

Story by Herb Booth, UTA Press