Serious *hit – The NX Bridge



That’s right, mister! I hate it when a command center is treated like “science fiction”. You know what I mean? I remember that on the original series the network gave Roddenberry some static about taking too much time designing the ship’s bridge. Their attitude was, it’s science fiction! Get some flashy lights and some chairs, and let’s get going! Gene Roddenberry would have loved the NX-01 bridge. It lives, breathes, and eats functional. Why do you think the defense department has contracted Herman over the years to design real world command centers?


Helm\Navigation – Be still my heart. Look at this helm! Doesn’t it just make you want to jump in, and jump out? We’ve had real astronauts sit here like giddy little kids! Before the major design work for the NX got into a swing, Herman visited US Navy fast attack subs. The influence is evident thru out the NX, especially here at the helm.


Weapons and Defense – Again, the lion’s share of credit goes to Herman Zimmerman, John Eaves, and Mike Okuda, along with the set designers who translate the concepts into blueprints for the mill. That alone is a huge undertaking. Imagine having to nail down every square inch… every corner, every crease, every color, and every surface?


Science Station – Clean and direct. Nothing fanciful. No one in our art department would ever settle for “make believe”. You can see the TOS influence starting to creep into the video playback. As the series moved on, Mike Okuda began adding more and more.


Engineering & Environmental Subsystems -  Another thing that floats my boat is the ”airy” quality the consoles have.  I dislike consoles that are built like the ice cream freezers at Baskin & Robbin. Heavy and solid right to the floor. By the way, the bronzy look was supposed to have been integrated into the ships exterior. It’s the one thing that got lost in the shuffle.


The “Big Chair”.  One of the concepts which made it into the NX bridge fromm TOS, was the multi-leveled command “island” that the captain’s chair and helm were perched on. I’m a great believer in the captain’s chair being treated “special”. It should not be like anyone else chair. It should be the visual focus of the bridge. I think a platform is imperative. The one exception being the TNG bridge (another classic) where the center seat was emphasized in it’s own original way.

(Below) A striking view emphasizing the loneliness of command. Bridge overheads are an art unto themselves.



50 Responses to “Serious *hit – The NX Bridge”

  1. April 11, 2009 at 3:36 pm

    Yes a great design and brillant work!!! I love how you guys added stuff to it as the show went on. Do you have any photos of the additions made for season 3 and 4?

  2. April 11, 2009 at 3:58 pm

    Regardless of what I might think about other elements of Enterprise, the sets were in a class unto themselves. Here you could really feel her heritage, at least to the ’60s version of TOS.

  3. April 11, 2009 at 4:13 pm

    I’ve always liked this bridge. It has a very businesslike appearance and a unified design which suggests a lot of Deco influence without being quite exactly Deco. Very nice, and still one of my favorites. :D

  4. 4 Matt Boardman
    April 11, 2009 at 4:28 pm

    Wow…I think my jaw litterly just hit the floor!! Years ago I used the NX-01 bridge as a reference for making a practice bridge to help me develop my modeling skills. I wish I had these shots back then! All I had to go from was screen caps and the virtual tour on startrek.com. This is one of those sets that given the chance to visit, security would have had to drag me out of when it was time to go!

    Was the fan in the Weapons/Defense console a fan that was mean to cool the components inward or to provide a cooling point for the user?

    Was any particular function discussed for the levers in the upper part of the walls? They look sort of like a manual override, kind of like the valves that can cut off a steam leak the overhead pipes in a submarine.

    I love the inclusion of the hand holds! When I was younger, my mom used to always seem to walk in at a time where people were getting tossed around the bridge and on more than one occasion made the comment about there not being any seat belts (as I’m sure many others have commented on). Later when Enterprise came out, I would visit my parents and watch Enterprise with my dad. Having the various hand rails and holds was one of the first things that she commented on. Mom’s are always so concerned about our saftey!

    Any chance of seeing one of the labeling graphics up close (the one that looks like it has a big “U” on it)? I’ve always been curious what that particular graphic says. :)

    Yay! Thanks so much for sharing these, Doug!!

  5. April 11, 2009 at 4:28 pm


    I’m such a Star Trek geek. People ask what’s your favorite show? Who’s your favorite captain? I really don’t want to answer. I unabashedly, unreservedly love all Star Trek. And it’s things like the attention to detail I see in this set that makes it so. And the people like Mr. Drexler and Mr. Zimmerman who take our hopes, yearnings and fears for the world of tomorrow seriously.
    Thanks for these images; it makes me feel that “Enterprise” lives on.


    PS And despite all my enormous reservations about the new movie, it will probably become near and dear to me to. It’s just that each new generation of Trek always eclipses (at least momentarily) the previous, but with blogs like this, each iteration lives on.

  6. 6 Ryan Cornelius
    April 11, 2009 at 4:30 pm

    Man o man o man…

    What I wouldn’t give to have a shop out back of my place where I could recreate her…

    Sigh indeed.

  7. 7 Matt Boardman
    April 11, 2009 at 4:31 pm

    “Bridge overheads are an art unto themselves.”

    Oy! Yes it is! I have a profound respect for the designers who have put these together. It’s something that is maybe not a focal point, but dang-it if it isn’t an important part of completing the feel and look of these wonderful sets.

  8. 8 dougdrexler
    April 11, 2009 at 4:36 pm

    Hi Matt! It’s not actually a fan at all. I want to ask Mike. Love the handholds because they say the ship is in action. I’ll see about doing an enterprise tech label entry. They really are bee-utiful. Serious *hit , from Mikey O!

  9. 9 dougdrexler
    April 11, 2009 at 4:38 pm

    Thank you Jennifer for your thoughtful note! We love this stuff just like you!

  10. 10 Jay
    April 11, 2009 at 4:48 pm

    When I was a kid, I went through a phase of about 2 years where I built little mini Star Trek sets out of posterboard and pretty much any other material I could find and adapt. Originally it was a place for my Star Trek action figures to play, since there was a real lack of Star Trek toys in the ’80s, but eventually I realized that most of the fun I was having was in the designing and the construction and drawing and coloring all the displays and consoles. So I totally get the quasi-pornographic quality of ooohing and aaahing over every tasty little nuance of each panel, each button, every little nook and cranny.

    “Dude! Check out the rack – of display panels on that console! Yowza!”

  11. 11 Mischaar
    April 11, 2009 at 4:49 pm

    Wow, these Pictures really made my Day. Thanks a lot for the good Work to anyone involved.
    But… one Question, is there a shot of the Communication Console?
    Back in Classic i loved the Navigation/Pilot Thing of Chekov/Sulu. I saw the two of them 3 Years back in those Place again on a Convention. I hate myself for not having a Camera with me at that Moment.
    On the NX Bridge i always liked Hoshis small World. Ok Granted, i love the whole Show wit everything on it. Archer was just like Kirk. Only Kirk beats the Hell out of his Enemys, Archer gets beaten the whole Time. *grin*

    Thank you Doug for all the good Stuff. It is very appreciated.

  12. 12 BB43MAN
    April 11, 2009 at 5:03 pm

    WOW!!!!! These photos are great! I have always thought the NX bridge was the most impressive of all the bridges, with the Generations movie bridge upgrade coming in second. This one is more “military” than the others. What is the color of the bulkheads? Is that a metallic tan, gray or bronze? Thanks for posting these, Doug!!!

  13. April 11, 2009 at 5:22 pm

    So one of the ‘big’ questions when stuff like this started leaking (2001?), why is there only 1 guy in front of the captain? Was this something coming from the top, and what is your view on this?

    Love the weapons console. The armrests are a nice touch, but what I like mosts are the distinct surfaces, visually separating functions from each other, yet keeping everything within reach. And sliding chairs! I liked how the consoles were laid out with regards to the Captain.

    Also love the small displays, they seem to be foreshadowing the swan necks from “The Cage”.

    I’ve always wondered what those things in the alcoves above the consoles are (top left, fifth image). It seems like some mechanical handle for something.

    Last random comment.. the columns of blinking lights on the Columbia bridge. What was that all about :D

  14. April 11, 2009 at 5:23 pm

    Doug……..THANKS!!!!!!!!! LOL
    I love photos like this!

    Doug, I have a few questions, one about the NX and another about TOS.

    Will we be seeing any of the NX-01 Monitor graphics? I did tons of research, but I can’t find any good photos.

    Also, I am doing some research on TOS Graphics, and I remember the interview you did for “In A Mirror Darkly” and I also know you talked to Matt Jefferies. You said that you remade the Stars and “Moon” graphics from screen grabs. Did Matt every tell you how the original where made? Did he use Archive photos for the Stars and the planets?

    Here is the original “Moon” graphic.

    Thanks Doug!

  15. 15 the bluesman
    April 11, 2009 at 5:37 pm


    Very nice. My only minor criticsm of the NX bridge is the lack of a pilot/co pilot.

    I know advanced technology would probably allow for one pilot, but I peronally think two guys at the conn is better.

    I do enjoy the old style control yoke.

  16. 16 dougdrexler
    April 11, 2009 at 5:45 pm

    Harry and Bluesman – Starfleet agrees with you! By the time TOS rolled around, navigator was made a full time job. The helmsman, now relieved of navigational chores, was assigned weapon’s officer duties. It made good sense to have the guy most aware of the ship’s orientation, and spacial relation to the bad guy, also be the most qualified person to fly the vehicle.

  17. 17 dougdrexler
    April 11, 2009 at 5:51 pm

    By the way… lest I forget! Either John or Mike took these shots!

  18. April 11, 2009 at 6:11 pm

    Fantastic shots, Doug. Kudos or Mike or John or whoever took them. You’ve mentioned the bronze tones were supposed to be present on the exterior as well. Whatever happened with that concept? Was it a conscious decision not to do it, or something that simply got left behind?

  19. 19 Thorsten Wieking
    April 11, 2009 at 6:30 pm

    Chairs on rails – I never realized that – thanks for the pictures.

    When I first saw the bridge, I had a small problem with the helmsman being the only one in front of the captain. For me, this seating arrangement was something of the “Trek future”, first seen on the USS Pasteur in All Good Things, later on the Voyager and the Defiant. In TNG, they used a similar arrangement on the USS Hathaway in Peak Performance, but here the helmsman and the captains chair were more in a side-by-side arrangement.

    But I got used to it quickly, so no further problems.

    Was the ceiling on the bridge always there or was it taken down, so that the lightning equipment on the stage could be used?

    What I really liked was the incorporation of all those flatscreens. It gave the bridge more life and the actors something to work with, although I would be surprised if we would still use TFT’s in 2151.

    Thanks for the pictures.


  20. April 11, 2009 at 6:49 pm

    Ooooohhhh! More drooling at the thought of being able to set foot on the bridge and just sit there fiddling with buttons, etc. ;-)

  21. 21 Loskene
    April 11, 2009 at 6:56 pm

    Absolutely beautiful. I love the NX bridge, perfect balance of form and function.

  22. April 11, 2009 at 7:44 pm

    A little late this time, but here are some screenshots of the brig from a variety of episodes, mostly without people blocking the views:


    Who knows, maybe 20 years from now, shots like these will be used in a new Star Trek series in a holodeck scene just like the bridge shot from “This side of paradise” was used in “Relics” ;-)

  23. April 11, 2009 at 7:55 pm

    Oh, the moon is a re-use of the shot of the moon that was modified to be Talos IV. You can read a little about it here:

    http://www.ex-astris-scientia.org/inconsistencies/tos_planets1.htm (scroll down to Talos IV)

  24. 24 nxalexx
    April 11, 2009 at 7:56 pm

    WHAT a beauty :-)
    I have to say that all of Star Trek, and Enterprise in a very special way, unites the very best set designs, ideas, realism, creativity… just amazing!
    I wonder if there are any shots from season 4? the redesigned bridge was PERFECTION!

  25. April 11, 2009 at 7:58 pm

    I love this bridge as well the Columbia/These Are The Voyages… variations. Excellent design.

  26. 26 Alex Rosenzweig
    April 11, 2009 at 8:33 pm

    This is a heck of a gorgeous set of shots of the NX bridge. I like it a lot! The sets were one of the high points of ENT for me, and I’m a huge fa of that show.

    One question, though… The inward facing console you captioned as weapons/defense, Doug… Unless I’m really misreading that pic, it’s over on the port side of the bridge, not the starboard where Reed usually sat. It looks to me like that’s the inner sciences console, across from weapons/defense, which is visible in the background. Or am I all turned around?

    Inevitable question, though, is… Were those consoles duplicates of each other, anyway? :)

    Either way… Awesome imagery!

  27. April 11, 2009 at 8:35 pm

    Wha the… 8O

    ToO 8) for mere words.

    Thanks dude! :D


  28. 28 Bridger
    April 11, 2009 at 8:43 pm

    Could it be that the aft section of the NX-Bridge was the reused aft section of the Defiant-Bridge

  29. 29 L.M. Oliver
    April 11, 2009 at 9:51 pm

    Is that a lighting rig built into the ceiling? If so, that’s the coolest part of this bridge for me.

  30. 30 Pat Suwalski
    April 11, 2009 at 10:40 pm

    Fantastic photos. In the four seasons of Enterprise, we really didn’t cover all of the angles. Voyager’s bridge was shot from every possible angle. Either there weren’t enough shows for Enterprise, or the design is so clever that they would never run out.

    Unlike several of the other commenters, I disliked the LCDs. I work around computers a lot, and the brand names just screamed out at me whenever they came on. Some of the episodes got custom frames for the panels, but I wish the same were true of the standing sets.

    That said, they would have looked absolutely fantastic behind the smoked Lexan on the various LCARS bridges…

  31. 31 Jim
    April 11, 2009 at 11:36 pm

    See the LCDs never bothered me, as I figured like the US Military now, they would have just used off the shelf screens rated for special environments, granted my issue dealt more with I would expect the resolution to be MUCH better than the 17 inch hitachi I use now ;-)

    I would lose to see some pics of the positions of the Macs they used to run the set. I forgot where they old Mac Cubes, or towers?

  32. 32 dougdrexler
    April 12, 2009 at 12:40 am

    Thorstein – Certainly they are not flatscreens as we understand them!

  33. 33 dougdrexler
    April 12, 2009 at 12:45 am

    Alex – I’m the one who is turned around! I fixed the caption! Thanks for the catch!. I think the different stations all had their own idiosyncracies, and were not cookie cutter duplications

  34. 34 dougdrexler
    April 12, 2009 at 12:47 am

    Bridiger – Nothing was recycled on the NX bridge. It was a complete and original built from scratch beauty.

  35. 35 dougdrexler
    April 12, 2009 at 12:51 am

    The NX bridge was shot with all practical light, so Marvin Rush, our DP, spent quite a bit of time tweaking the practical fixtures.

  36. 36 dougdrexler
    April 12, 2009 at 12:52 am

    Jim, it was a city of Mac Cubes.

  37. 37 Pat Suwalski
    April 12, 2009 at 1:50 am

    Shot all with practical light? That’s an accomplishment and a half on a 360-degree set like that.

    I know when I was on the set of BSG they were using what I considered very little light (basically the carpenters’/worklights you often saw standing around the hangar deck). I always attributed it to them shooting digital. However, the first few seasons of Enterprise were all film, weren’t they?

  38. April 12, 2009 at 3:11 am

    Doesn’t digital typically have more issues filming in low light, as it ends up very grainy looking? And yes ENT was filmed in 35mm for the first 3 seasons.

  39. 39 Pat Suwalski
    April 12, 2009 at 3:22 am

    Matt, that’s true. BSG is an example. It’s often grainy. However, it *is* possible to shoot in low light, whereas with film it’s (typically) not.

  40. 40 Paul
    April 12, 2009 at 5:45 am

    Great pictures. I don’t remember the steering wheel at the helm ever been used though which is a shame cos it’s very much like a Sub then. Was it removed?

  41. 41 Pat Suwalski
    April 12, 2009 at 7:03 am

    Speaking of LCDs, I just watched “Good Shepherd”. Where the guy’s in the escape pod and has the LCD right in front of his face, did anyone notice the trademark black Mac cursor flying wildly across the screen? I love finding stuff like that!

  42. 42 dougdrexler
    April 12, 2009 at 4:15 pm

    Pat, The grain in BSG is added for the most part. It’s part of the shows gritty look.

  43. 43 dougdrexler
    April 12, 2009 at 4:16 pm

    Hi Paul! the wheel was there through the run of the series.

  44. 44 Chris W
    April 13, 2009 at 12:17 pm

    Do you have any shots of the revamped season 4 bridge, especially of the Captains chair (hands down my joint favourite chair, as with the actual NX bridge its tied with the Defiant)

  45. 45 dougdrexler
    April 13, 2009 at 4:57 pm

    Chris! If I run across some I will feature them!

  46. 46 Ryan T. Riddle
    April 13, 2009 at 5:29 pm

    I’m loving the looks into the NX-01. The art direction and design on the series is, imo, the best of the modern Treks because of its functionality and verisimilitude. It didn’t go into the attitude, as you wrote Mr. Drexler, that this is the future, so let’s add blinking lights which was one of my problems with the production design of Babylon 5 (the controls and consoles didn’t seem to have a function other than flashing lights).

    Of all the ships, the NX-01 looked as if it could really take off!

  47. April 13, 2009 at 9:19 pm

    “Clean and direct. Nothing fanciful.”

    Definitely. It took me a while to recognize that. I love the design now. This decent blend of present-day and sci-fi elements, of submarine and Enterprise-D, the push buttons and handles, the colors.

  48. 48 dougdrexler
    April 14, 2009 at 5:19 pm

    Thanks Ryan! More peeks at the NX coming up.

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