Great Ideas for Adaptive Reuse of Bridges From The Solar Park South Competition

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Images credit Solar Park South Competition

It is almost a given in design competitions that the best project comes second; the precedent was set in 1922 with the Chicago Tribune Tower competition, where the neo-gothic won beat second prize winner Eliel Saarinen. There are exceptions; Toronto's City Hall by Viljo Revell, and, I think, PR+OFF's inhabited bridge for the Italian Solar Park South Competition.

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The challenge in the competition was to design an alternate use for gorgeous concrete bridges built in the sixties by some of the world best engineers, like Pier Luigi Nervi; they are being replaced by new shorter routes that are mainly in tunnels:

Rather than completely demolishing the old route, with its extraordinary reinforced concrete viaducts, now fully integrated within the landscape and the collective imagination, the reuse and re- development of certain by-passed sections is proposed as a means of boosting the production of renewable energy; experimenting with new eco-friendly technologies; favouring connections between villages and access to the valuable crops on mountain crests; and, finally, developing new forms of environmental and land art capable of stimulating responsible tourism.

The winners describe their proposal:

This contemporary archaeology (the bridge over the bridge) results in a process where urban falls meet the climbing nature. The vertical privacy of the inhabited piles supports the horizontal sociability of the public equipped decks, while providing a unique view for each one, at every level. The combination between the infrastructure and the environment is efficient enough to establish a new responsible high quality way of living.

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The second prize by COFFICE is pretty cool and is getting all the press, but I think is a bit of a one-hit wonder. They write:

The hybrid system proposed (combining solar and wind power) allows for a continuous production of Energy. The project is based on the idea of utilizing the space between the pillars of the existing viaducts to house a system of wind-powered turbines which will be integrated into the structure. This ensures contained land use and therefore a reduced impact on both landscape and environment in addition to re-designing the visual profile of the viaduct.

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click images to enlarge

Daniel at Inhabitat
loved the third prize winner, and there is lots to love; it is all about green education. But I think that it wrecks the bridge with the green curtain leaf shelter acting as a wall.

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There are a number of schemes that turn the bridge into a wall, but I prefer the ones that let the elegance of the engineering show through, like Pip's. See them all at Solar Park South

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