The Picture Bridge Historic Renovation and Structural Repair
The historic Picture Bridge at the Langham Huntington Hotel in Pasadena was originally constructed in 1914 to connect the hotel’s main building to other amenities. In 1932, local painter and landscape artist Frank Moore was hired to paint 41 scenes on the bridge’s gables of California landscapes and iconic features.
In 2013, the bridge was inspected and found to have some distress and deterioration, but the structure was adequate for supporting vertical loads and resisting lateral loads. At that time, the original oil paintings were carefully removed and put into storage for preservation and facsimiles were developed to replace them. A reassessment of the bridge in 2015 confirmed progression of the deterioration, so a temporary shoring system was installed to relieve the load. In 2020, the 2,500-sf Picture Bridge underwent a multi-million-dollar restoration and structural rehabilitation to meet current seismic codes and mount the new replicas – with a goal of saving as much of the original bridge as possible.
The design for the restoration included a new steel reinforcement system, new redwood, and pressure-treated wood that blended with the bridge’s original Douglas fir and provides the needed structural support in an unobtrusive way. An existing structural support at the center long span of the bridge was removed, and the clear span is now supported by steel hidden beneath wood cladding.
The existing terracotta-clad roof was shored in place while new wood and steel supports were installed, and the original reinforced concrete piers and abutments were reused. All of the steel reinforcement was covered by wood to retain the original appearance of the historic bridge.
IMEG worked closely with the historic preservation architect, the owner, and the Pasadena Heritage Society to fully restore the bridge and maintain the historic beauty that many guests have come to know and love. With a design sensitive to the needs of the owner and the historic materials, the restored Picture Bridge will continue to charm guests for years to come.
2021 California Preservation Foundation Preservation Design Award for Preservation or Restoration