The expanse of the 431’ long Rock Creek Road Bridge provided CDR a unique opportunity to affect the most visible elements of the bridge: parapet, the pier sets, and the large embankments. Aesthetics representing the City of Norman’s active industries in both breeding quarter horses and crafting saddles fill the expansive concrete space provided by the scale of this bridge.
The deep relief of the horses casts strong, pronounced shadows when the sun shines, making the animals appear to be stacked one in front of the other. Instead of referencing one breed of horse, a generic concept of horses in motion sans rider is represented, so that commuters can associate any or all breeds of horses.
The three-dimensional woven pattern found on the pier sets and the wing walls originate from hand-pressed patterns common to cowboy saddles. These areas are stained to imitate the brown hues of handcrafted leather. Adorning the bullnose of the central pier set and the termini of the parapet is a large, concho with scalloped edging inset with round stones. Used to ornament the bands, straps, and cinches of horse saddles, conchos denote cowboy culture and iconography.
Passing under the bridge, commuters see a pattern of squares made from cross-hatched textures alternating orientation stamped onto the slopewall to form a diamond Native American rug design. Bookended by two half-diamonds, this central diamond spans the height and width of the slopewall. Representing a woven quilt or blanket that is needed to pad saddles, these stamped diamonds accentuate the simple weave appearing on the piers and wing walls to further connote saddlery and equine craftsmanship.
The Rock Creek Road Bridge is part of an eight bridge Aesthetic Master Design Plan CDR developed for the I-35 Corridor in Norman, Oklahoma. The design for each bridge finds its inspiration in either the history, architectural, flora or fauna, or the industry of this region.