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Totem Lake Connector

Kirkland, WA

A memorable pedestrian bridge adds visual delight to Kirkland's busiest corridor.

The City of Kirkland hired Perkins Eastman to design a safe and memorable pedestrian bridge over its busiest thoroughfare as it passes through the Totem Lake neighborhood. As a key link in the Cross Kirkland Corridor, the Totem Lake Connector acts as a structurally dramatic bridge and an icon for both the neighborhood and the city beyond.

Our team began by developing four distinct structural options for review and debate. A preferred design emerged following a lengthy public engagement process—one that focused on engaging the local context dynamically and memorably.

A skipping stone inspired the connector’s final design, playing on the implied motion of a bouncing stone aimed towards Totem Lake. The result is a bridge structure with fluid form, engaging the connection between Lake Washington and Totem Lake. The bridge deck area is enlarged at the traffic island to emphasize the skipping of the metaphorical stone. We applied a gradient-pixelization ripple pattern to the bridge deck to create a playful visual effect that engages pedestrians and cyclists with a nod to the adjacent Totem Lake Wetlands.

A sweeping radial serpentine form creates a dynamic opportunity both in physical experience and visual form. Guardrails bow outward, creating a generous and active observation area while seamlessly integrating the structural elements and handrails. Critical to the project’s success was maintaining the integrity of the structure and preserving strong lines and profiles, truly establishing the Totem Lake Connector as a piece of functional art.