A focal point of Silver Hill Hospital's 42-acre campus is the Silvermine River, which meanders through the site. Along with the acoustics of the burbling water are two historic stone bridges, which add character and charm to the overall rural aesthetic of the campus. Richard Turlington Architects took a holistic approach to each bridge’s redesign and replacement, considering and ultimately resolving several factors that were initially in conflict with one another.
Firstly, the bridges were failing structurally because the stonework showed signs of fatigue. Secondly, the original bridges were narrow and could not safely accommodate both pedestrian and vehicular traffic. Thirdly, the existing bridges were dark at night and had open railings, both of which posed a safety hazard to pedestrians.
Our design created the perfect solution, combining a new structure with aesthetic preservation. We chose a simple arched precast deck with a custom stone shelf detail and a fieldstone veneer that matched the original character. We maintained the single lane roadway, but increased the width of the bridge to allow for a new, raised bluestone walkway, so that patients could traverse it safely away from the threat of cars. We designed and added a new decorative guardrail to each side of the bridge, with leaf-patterned laser cut stainless steel panels that allows for high guardrail transparency while maintaining a high strength guard. Lastly, we wove low profile lighting along the length of bridge and placed stone pilasters topped by short lamps at either end. The result is two new bridges that look like they have always been there; they are safe, and add an elegant yet unobtrusive dimension to this farm-like rural setting.