richard meier and partners has completed the firm’s first design for a dual-function pedestrian and vehicular bridge for the city of alessandria in italy. after extensive flooding in 1994, debris was caught by the existing napoleonic cittadella bridge — creating an unintentional dam in the river. richard meier’s precast-concrete and painted-steel bridge attempts to remedy the situation and reconnect the 18th century fort, located on one side of the river, with the modern city on the other.
the firm’s first pedestrian-vehicular bridge connects the italian city to a historic site
all images © hufton + crow
as depicted in hufton + crow’s images of the site, the bridge’s 4,150 meters of surface area and 185 meter length, was designed as a public space where individuals can gather or stop to take in the view. the previous crossing was often heavily congested with traffic and provided an unpleasant pedestrian experience. the pedestrian side of the richard meier & partners’ design takes on a similar function to an italian piazza, acting as an outdoor civic and social space. the distinct form of the vertical 32.5 meter arch curves south to counteract the weight of the vehicular side, which bows strongly to the north. the weight of the pedestrian portion of the bridge also works within the complex, balancing equation.
the southern leaning curve of the vertical arch counteracts the weight of the vehicular portion
‘more than 20 years after the initial commission to design a new bridge between the city of alessandria and the old citadel, I am extremely pleased to have completed this new modern link between the past and the future of the city.’ says meier. ‘we hope that this new structure will contribute to the civic life of the local community and to the urban revitalization around the site, the 18th-century citadel and piazza gobetti.’
he continues, ‘as in many of our buildings, this project is a composition of volumes and forms, and at dawn and dusk, and with the change of the seasons light will filter through the structure providing for particularly animated light conditions. we hope the cittadella bridge contributes to the life of the city and takes advantage of the site.’
the bridge hopes to alleviate traffic problems that plagued old bridge
the bridge has a surface area of nearly 4,140 meters and a length of 185 meters
the crossing is made of steel, aluminum concrete, and hardwood
the cittadella bridge is an extension of the an italian piazza, functioning as a civic and social space
the span connects the modern city of alessandria with the 18th-century citadel across the tarnaro
flooding in 1994 caused structure and water-flow issues that have been solved with the new design
the wide pedestrian area allows it to function more as an elevated park rather than a pedestrian causeway
the bridge links the ‘old’ with the ‘new’ with easy accessibility between the two
to maintain balance, the arch, northern bow on the vehicle side + weight of the pedestrian side work together
design principals: richard meier FAIA FRIBA, john eisler, dukho yeon AIA
project manager: simone ferracina
collaborators: alfonso d’onofrio, jim sawyer, mattero pericoli
client: comune di alessandria
associate architect & construction supervision: dante o. benini & partners architects
design principals: dante o. benini
senior partner: luca gonzo
senior architect: monica lirosi
site assistant: sebastiano de servi
architecture in italy (111 articles)
bridge architecture and design (138 articles)
hufton + crow (20 articles)
richard meier (34 articles)
david chipperfield architects took third place, while copenhagen-based firm 3XN also made the top five entries.
the new structure sits upon the repaired victorian iron work of the original pier, and has been designed to kick-start the southern english town’s renaissance.
internally, the scheme is connected with criss-crossing passages that encourage constant dialogue and interaction.
the project was developed based on the modular composition principle, creating a proper rhythm in the façades and roofing.