Richard Meier’s First Bridge

The namesake of our friends at Richard Meier & Partners Architects has completed his first bridge in Alessandria, Italy, a 607-foot-long bowstring arch bridge replacing a Napoleonic-era structure deemed unfit for long-term use after it experienced flooding on its road deck in 1994, and because it was too narrow to accommodate 21 century volumes of traffic. The bridge connects the city of Alessandria to the Cittadella of Alessandria, an 18th-century citadel across the Tanaro River; it is constructed of precast-concrete and steel (painted white, like much of Meier’s work), and characterized by its creator as “a bridge between the past and the future:” to this end, one arch of the old bridge is preserved, in place, on each bank of the river. The new bridge has two spans that hold each other in check; the new road deck is counterbalanced by a separate pedestrian deck, and a south-tilting, 100-foot-tall arch that supports them both. The pedestrian deck, which has a walkway of ipé decking, has become a popular public space: the traffic issues of the old bridge made it unsafe for pedestrian use.

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