"The Bethlehem Steel plant was a powerful symbol of America's manufacturing leadership in the Industrial Revolution. From its completion in 1912 until the Bethlehem Plant ceased operation in 1995, the elevated rail named the Hoover-Mason Trestle [HMT] functioned effectively and consistently, and still stands prominently as a reminder of its industrial magnificence. Breathing new life into the campus, the Trestle once again provides an up-close, interpretive, and powerful view of the elaborate and complex Bethlehem Steel plant.
The newly repurposed HMT creates dynamic interactions from the circulation vertical elements to the horizontal walk across. The intervention occurs at a datum above the existing tracks, creating an archeological experience over the artifact below that pays homage to the site by treading lightly over the historic structure, while also providing a unique and new pedestrian experience. Respecting the linearity of the rail tracks on top of the HMT, metal grating walkways run parallel immediately above the existing tracks, encouraging people to look down into the large existing bins below. These walkways are interrupted by the introduction of angular concrete gathering spaces that frame and focus views, directing your attention outward to items of historical and contextual importance. Finally, these spaces are buffered and enhanced by concrete planters that contain native landscaping to direct and shield specific views. These new components vary not only in their materiality, but also in their vertical height above the tracks. This unique relationship between the component tectonics offers visitors a revealing and interpretive understanding of the site and design.
The HMT serves to enhance the community of Bethlehem, PA by preserving the history and integrity of this magnificent site, and allowing everyone the opportunity to once again stand at the foot of the majestic and iconic Bethlehem Steel blast furnaces."