Arts & Culture News

You Love/Hate the Bridge. Tonight, It's Gonna Get Real Noticeable.

You probably haven't heard much about the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge. Yeah. That's what we thought.

Well, in honor of tonight's lighting ceremony -- taking place between 5:45 and 6:15 p.m.-- we thought we'd spare the snark and, instead, talk shop here at the Mixmaster. Controversial from its inception, Dallas' design joins more than 40 completed projects by the internationally acclaimed Spanish architect and artist, Santiago Calatrava. In his signature parabolic and achromatic style, the bridge joins a complex, international network of libraries, train stations, airports, museums and miscellaneous structures -- such as the Olympic Sports Complex in Athens and the New York City Ballet. With the addition of two planned sister bridges, Dallas will mirror the Dutch municipality Haarlemmermeer in boasting a fleet of Calatrava bridges.

After the jump, get some details you might have missed in the hullabaloo.

  • Known primarily as an architect, Calatrava is also a prolific sculptor and painter, and his drawings are reminiscent of Picasso's line art.
  • The arches are constructed of Italian steel, welded, apparently, by Italian weldors.
  • Flanked by controversy due in large part to the project's perpetual insolvency, support by local arts groups is among the most trenchant in favor of the wider Trinity River Project. They argue that the bridges will link West Dallas institutions like the Belmont, La Reunion Texas and the Bishop Arts District to the downtown Arts District and Deep Ellum, symbolically producing a more cohesive arts culture.
  • The solar-powered "wave" at the Meadows Museum on the SMU campus is also a Calatrava design.

With the recent addition of the Omni, tonight's lighting will further contribute to the rapidly evolving and increasingly colorful night skyline. We hear the best spot for viewing will be the Trinity Overlook at Beckley Avenue and Commerce Street, where there will be parking and a covered shade structure, should the rain continue. If you're among the bridge-loving constituency, don't forget the eight upcoming Bridge-o-Rama events celebrating the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge's official opening in March.

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Brentney Hamilton