arenas asociados reconstructs historic fort st. elmo footbridge in malta
 
arenas asociados reconstructs historic fort st. elmo footbridge in malta arenas asociados reconstructs historic fort st. elmo footbridge in malta
may 19, 2014

arenas asociados reconstructs historic fort st. elmo footbridge in malta

arenas asociados reconstructs historic fort st. elmo footbridge in malta
image © samantha debono
all images courtesy of arenas & asociados

 

 

 

positioned in the valletta grand harbour in malta, a UNESCO world heritage site, the footbridge by spanish designers arenas & asociados spans the historic stretch st. elmo breakwater. the project is a reconstruction of the original, which was erected between 1903 and 1909 and destroyed during WWII in 1941. the breakwater and its lighthouse remained isolated for more than 70 years, only accessible by boat.

 

the rebuild has been conceived not only as a place to cross and stay, but also a place to admire the view over the grand harbor. its main structural element is a single 70-m-span classic arched steel truss (with similar height to span ratio to those pertaining to the original bridge) aligned along the outer face of the breakwater.

 


footbridge during a wavy day
image © antonio violi

 

 

the deck cantilevers out from its bottom chord, and the transverse section forms an l-shape, reinforcing the presence of protection walls on the open sea side of the abutments and their absence on the harbor side. the timber deck appears as a continuous unobstructed observation platform facing the ocean, while the truss provides protection from the wind to pedestrians. the asymmetrical section also ensures that the bridge is distinct from the remaining standing pier of the original structure.


view of the footbridge from sea with fort st. elmo in the background
image © héctor beade

 

 

linear LED floodlights recessed into the handrails or in the steelwork were used for all the required lighting systems. the footbridge was erected using a specialized heavy lift cargo vessel with cranes on deck in a similar way as the original one was. the steelwork was manufactured in a coruña and then assembled in the port of cartagena, and finally transported to malta by sea.


fort st. elmo, footbridge, breakwater and lighthouse
image © joseph lanzon

 


observatory towards the grand harbor and protection element from open sea 
image © chris mallia

 


windows to open sea and details of the steelwork 
image © héctor beade

 


one of the color combinations of the architectural lighting 
image © joseph lanzon

 


‘st elmo’s bridge – the fabrication process 2011 08 08’
video courtesy of vassallo group malta

 


installation of the bridge atop the abutments from sea using the vessel derricks
image © héctor beade

 


relation of the new bridge with the existing abutments (top) and footbridge-observatory concept (bottom) sketches: héctor beade

 


basis of design of the new footbridge
image © arenas & asociados

 


isometric views of the steelwork
drawing © arenas & asociados

 


construction and destruction sequence of the original footbridge

 

 

project info:

 

location: st. elmo breakwater at valletta grand harbour. valletta, malta
conceptual, structural and detailed design: arenas & asociados (héctor beade, guillermo capellán)
client: transport malta
local engineering: bezzina & cole
contractor: vassallo builders
steelwork: emesa / heavy lifting: fagioli / lighting: arenas & asociados (design), targetti, osram (supplier), calleja (installer)
total length: 72 m / span: 70 m / effective width: 5.5 m / vertical clearance under deck: 9.5 m
design and construction cost: 2 500 000 € (10-year maintenance included)
year: 2012

 

 

designboom has received this project from our ‘DIY submissions‘ feature, where we welcome our readers to submit their own work for publication. see more project submissions from our readers here.

  • ah yes… colored lights, of COURSE, colored lights

    dbkii says:
  • i like it. Thank you

    Ilya Bourim says:
  • Really a lovely project. I particularly enjoyed seeing the original photos from its construction. Congratulations.

    Ron Smith says:

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