Dialectical Bridge

2008 RAIA National Architecture Conference
Critical Visions: Form, Representation and the Culture of Globalisation
Student Competition Project

Teacher: Mr Ross Anderson

Critical Visions 08 Cover

Brief
Design a pedestrian footbridge to connect two sides of a river, two places and two cities. One side of the river is solid granite and rises directly up from the river twelve meters at high tide. The opposite bank, twenty-four meters away, is a soft clay berm sloping (at approximately thirty degrees) back up from the river to finish six metres below the top of the granite cliff. The river is ten metres wide and rises and falls with the tide one metre each day.

Twenty kilometres from the edge of the river is the city of ‘Zeitgeist’, a new city rising high and quickly, where the residents love the new and the different, and have great faith in technology to solve all present problems of their city. They want to forget, fight and resist the pull of the past and want only the next. This restless city is rich, open and prosperous, but it is characterised by pleasure seeking, product hunger and a sense of lost identity such that social cohesion and inclusion is governed primarily through purchasing power.

Twenty kilometres from the opposite bank of the river is another city, ‘Nostalgia’, an older city, slow and resistant, where the residents love their past and turn their backs to the future in fear. They believe the problems of their city can only be solved through the mediation of growth and technology and seek to reduce the damage of progress. This grounded city is characterised by tradition, communion with nature, cultural depth and community, but is closed, resistant and poor.

You are to design a bridge over the river that separates these two cites. You decide on which side of the river each city is located. You must consider the economy and sustainability of your selected materials, structure and construction systems. The bridge is only for pedestrians. You should consider carefully the full sensory experience of the journey and return from one side to the other, together with the meaning and representation role of this bridg(ing).

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