MVRDV, Snøhetta among shortlisted firms for 16 Tech bridge in Indianapolis

A New Span for Circle City

MVRDV, Snøhetta among shortlisted firms for 16 Tech bridge in Indianapolis

16 Tech, a 50-acre mixed-use innovation district abutting downtown Indianapolis, is taking form. A landmark bridge will help improve connectivity in the area. (Courtesy 16 Tech)

Six finalists have been announced in the bid to design a 350-foot-long multi-modal bridge to accommodate pedestrians, cyclists, and vehicles while serving as an “architectural centerpiece” of the 16 Tech Innovation District, a 50-acre mixed-use development currently underway on the edge of downtown Indianapolis. Per a press statement released by 16 Tech, the firms were selected from an overall pool of 33 potential designers that had responded to a request for qualifications (RFQ) made public in February of this year.

“We are energized by the overwhelming number of responses we received to the RFQ as well as the shared vision of the bridge as a landmark connector of people and ideas for 16 Tech,” said Bob Coy, president and CEO of 16 Tech, in a statement. “The finalists share our desire to create an emblem of innovation for downtown Indianapolis and inspire a culture of design and innovation. They are also committed to working with local partners and spending time with the community to understand the unique geography and complexities of the site as well as the cultural history of the neighboring communities.”

Each of the six finalists will head design teams composed of local, national, and international partner firms spread across a range of disciplines including structural engineering and landscape architecture. The shortlisted firms—with a substantial Massachusetts presence—are: Behnisch Architekten (Boston, Stuttgart), Kennedy & Violich Architecture (Boston), MVRDV (Rotterdam), NADAAA (Boston) schlaich bergermann partner/sbp (New York, Stuttgart), and Snøhetta (New York, Oslo).

The final design for the $14.5 million bridge, which is supported through a grant from Lily Endowment and bolstered by funding from the City of Indianapolis, will be announced later this summer. It’s slated to be completed in early 2023.

The team ultimately selected to head up the bridge’s design will also be tasked with creating schematic designs for entrances and wayfinding within the $500 million innovation district in the historic Riverside section of Indianapolis, immediately northwest of downtown. The bridge itself will span Fall Creek from 10th Street and Riley Hospital Drive and connect adjacent neighborhoods with 16 Tech and downtown Indianapolis. (The location of the bridge can be seen in the flyover video below.)

A dedicated bridge selection committee chose the six shortlisted firms, and the same committee will also determine the design that will ultimately be realized at Tech 16. Chaired by Marya Rose, vice president and chief administrative officer of Cummins Inc. and board member of 16 Tech, the committee also includes former AN executive editor Matt Shaw; Shin-pei Tsay, the director of Policy, Cities and Transportation at Uber, and Sara Zewde, founding principal of New York-based landscape architecture and urban design firm Studio Zewde. Joining them are a trio of local leaders: Vop Osili, president of the Indianapolis City-County Council; Dan Parker, director of the Indianapolis Department of Public Works, and and Adam Thies, associate vice president of Capital Planning and Facilities at Indiana University.

“The six finalists represent some of the most forward-thinking designers in the world,” said Rose. “Their work is internationally recognized for creating dynamic urban community spaces and their talent for creating such spaces will serve 16 Tech’s vision to build a community of innovation, entrepreneurial activity and talent attraction.”

Indianapolis-based architecture and design firm Synthesis Incorporated is acting as owner’s representative for the bridge-selection process while the Columbus Design Institute, the technical services arm of the nonprofit Landmark Columbus Foundation, is serving as design advisor.

aerial view of the site of a future bridge in indianpolis
The 16 Tech innovation hub is nestled between the White River and Fall Creek in an area just northwest of downtown Indianapolis. The development’s  signature bridge will traverse the latter waterway. (Courtesy 16 Tech)

Comprised of tech-centered commercial space, retail storefronts, a hotel, housing, and venues for creative endeavors complemented by 15 acres of public green space and three miles walking and cycling trails, 16 Tech describes itself as a “24-hour community where the curious and creative come together to build companies, careers and families.”

There are several individual projects underway at 16 Tech including the master-planned development’s inaugural (fully-leased) research and office building, which is on track to be completed later this summer.