Streicker Bridge Celebrates Campus Connections

July 1st, 2010 / Advancement

Thanks to John H. Streicker ’64, a graceful bridge now spans busy Washington Road, providing safe passage for pedestrians and uniting the two halves of Princeton’s science neighborhood. On June 19 members of the University community gathered with Streicker and his family and friends to formally dedicate the bridge in a ceremony held on Poe Field.

“Streicker Bridge is at once practical and beautiful,” observed President Tilghman as she thanked Streicker for his gift. “It is the physical manifestation of the modern intellectual connections that are increasingly bringing together the traditional scientific disciplines—in this case chemistry, biology, physics, and mathematics. It is also a striking gateway to our campus—a new landmark that is gracefully integrated into the natural landscape bordering Washington Road.”

Streicker, who is chairman of the board of Sentinel Real Estate Corporation, referred to the significance the University has for his family.

“Beyond the utility and elegance of the structure, the bridge symbolizes to me the way Princeton has bridged different generations of my family,” he said. “Connecting, bridging, spanning are all things at which Princeton excels. I am grateful to have been part of the physical project and grateful for all my Princeton connections.”

Streicker and his wife, Barbara K. Streicker, are the parents of three Princeton alumni—Margaret R. Streicker Porres ’97, Michael F. Streicker ’99, and Elizabeth K. Streicker ’02.

Streicker Bridge links Jadwin Hall and the new chemistry building on the east side of Washington Road with Carl Icahn Laboratory and the new neuroscience and psychology buildings under construction on the west. Appropriately, the bridge itself is the site of some cutting-edge science: Embedded fiber-optic sensors are recording changes in temperature, strain, and vibration for research in the emerging field of structural health monitoring.

The 350-foot bridge emerges from forested embankments on either side of Washington Road, rising to a height of 24 feet above the street. Shaped like parentheses set back to back and joining in the middle to form a single walkway, it looks surprisingly delicate, with blocks of cast concrete supported by a slender steel arch and topped by steel mesh guard rails. The bridge was designed by Swiss engineer Christian Menn,who is famous for his emphasis on economy and elegance.

Menn’s collaborator on the bridge was Theodore P. Zoli ’88, vice president and technical director of bridges with HNTB of New York; Ryan Woodward *02 of HNTB was the project engineer. Zoli, who is a visiting lecturer in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, was awarded a MacArthur fellowship in 2009 for his novel ways of constructing and protecting bridges against natural and man-made disasters.

The opening of Streicker Bridge will coincide with the completion of the new chemistry building, scheduled for this coming fall. The new traffic patterns for pedestrians and cyclists will benefit the entire University.

“John’s gift has allowed us to provide a critical link in the campus circulation, which dramatically opens the campus eastward,” said Executive Vice President Mark Burstein. “Streicker Bridge, along with the new chemistry building and the neuroscience and psychology complex right across Washington Road, forms a new entry to Princeton that clearly celebrates the highest quality teaching, research, and design.”