Providence River Pedestrian Bridge Cladding

The Providence River Pedestrian Bridge is a transformative project designed by inFORM studio that curves across the Providence River to reconnect neighborhoods that were once divided by the outdated I-195 interstate highway. Working closely with the designers to bring their concept to life, our team refined the project’s sinuous new cladding system and custom structural connections.

Since the bridge is seen as a local landmark and the community was highly engaged in the planning process, it was crucial for us to achieve the design’s intended complexity and organic quality. Our scope was the wooden exterior cladding, composed of 250 individual panels that wrap around both sides of the multi-level bridge. We also developed demountable connection details that facilitate the kind of long-term maintenance required for such a prominent part of the design.

Using parametric tools, we developed the internal structure of each panel and thousands of custom connections where they attach to the substructure. Simultaneously, we found ways to modularize the larger system while preserving the unique form and surface curves. Overall, this helped accelerate the production schedule and reduce material waste and costs.

Our team engineered each module's stainless steel armature to be as lightweight as possible while structurally supporting and giving shape to the finished surface. Unlike with the decking above which is built with heavy ipe lumber—we used wana, a less dense hardwood species with the same durable properties that can withstand weathering. We then delivered these material components to a trusted local team to be carefully assembled and ultimately installed by barge.

Rising from the original piers of the old highway, this public pathway allows residents and tourists to cross freely between these adjacent neighborhoods for the first time. And with multiple plazas and gathering spaces along the bridge, the river itself becomes a new center for the community.


Rhode Island Department of Transportation


inFORM Studio


Providence, RI




Steve Kroodsma, SITU