The Foothills Basket Bridge - Andrew Leicester

The rail bridge as public art

Andrew Leicester's bridge in Los Angeles references the indigenous peoples of the San Gabriel Valley

Our friends in LA tipped us off to this new bridge which was unveiled just before Christmas. It's a piece of public art that doubles as an extension for the Metro Gold Line which is currently under extension. It's been designed by Minnesota artist Andrew Leicester and crosses the I-210 freeway in Arcadia. The structure is a fully functioning light-rail bridge as well as a piece of public sculpture. The new rail extension will connect the greater Los Angeles area to the inner city.

Apparently, the woven sections of the bridge reference the weaving disciplines of the indigenous peoples of the San Gabriel Valley. The undercarriage of the structure meanwhile is designed to resemble a rattlesnake. 

Leicester says, "I'm really pleased with the results as far as I wanted the bridge to have a kind of curvilinear, soft visual look to it. You don't see that much in contemporary concrete structures. I drew my inspiration from two sources: The region's cultural history and its architecture. The large baskets that adorn the bridge metaphorically represent the Native Americans of the region and the growth of agriculture as a primary catalyst to the San Gabriel Valley. They also pay tribute to the iconic sculptural traditions of Route 66 with its over-sized commercial architecture."

Leicester was born in Britain but is US-based and has created public art around the world - most notably his sculpted courtyard Zanja Madre at Figueroa Tower in LA in the early nineties. He unsuccessfully sued Warner Brothers in 1995 for copyright infringement, claiming that the makers of Batman Forever had copied the courtyard design for various scenes in the movie. You'll find more eye-catching concrete structures both useful and ornate in our fine book Concrete.