Thursday, May 6, 2010


Proun 1A: Bridge 1, by El (Eliezer Markovich) Lissitzky, 1919.

The Russian Constructivists in Perspective:

The Peak Competition, Hong Kong, by Zaha Hadid, 1982.

What is a Bridge?

Bauen. Wohnen. Denken (Darmstadt in 1951), Martin Heidegger (1889-19760):

" To be sure, the bridge is a thing of its own kind; for it gathers the fourfold in such a way that it allows a site for it. But only something that is itself a location can make space for a site. The location is not already there before the bridge is. Before the bridge stands, there are of course many spots along the stream that can be occupied by something. One of them proves to be a location, and does so because of the bridge. Thus the bridge does not first come to a location to stand in it; rather, a location comes into existence only by virtue of the bridge. The bridge is a thing; it gathers the fourfold, but in such a way that it allows a site for the fourfold. By this site are determined the localities and ways by which a space is provided for."

Brücke und Tür. (1909), Georg Simmel (1858-1918).
You can read this article from Theory, Culture, & Society, Vol. 11(1994): 5-10.

" The people who first built a path between two places performed one of the greatest human achievements. No matter how often they might have gone back and forth between the two and thus connected path into the surface of the earth that the places were objectively connected. The will to connection had become a shaping of things, still being dependent on its frequency or rarity. Path-building, one could say, is a specifically human achievement; the animal too continuously overcomes a separaion and often in the cleverest and most ingenious ways, but its beginning and end remain unconnected, it does not accomplish the miracle of the road: freezing movement into a solid structure that commences from it and in which it terminateates."


1. From the spatial aspect

a) a bridge allows a 360º view over the landscape; it draws the landscape into a circle on the horizontal plane;
b) it adds the vertical dimension to the landscape and breaks it into the upper and lower parts;
c) it can be observed as a bodily experienced part of the landscape – from afar, the vision prevails, but when the observer is moving on the bridge or under it, other senses participate in the aesthetic perception.

2. From the temporal aspect the bridge is not only an abstract and static spatial temporal image, but it is also dynamic and constantly changing in accordance with the geographical and climatic conditions of the given season. The movement and position of a body in space form an essential part in the emergence and transformation of the dynamic images of the bridge and the landscape – the bridge as a place is the part of the road that preconditions movement. The bridge is not merely a thing (Heidegger), nor a picture (Simmel), but an event (Heidegger).

3. From the metaphysical aspect the bridge is the symbol of man's being between the sky and the earth. The bridge is like the Tree of the World – its roots in the earth, its branches in the sky. Man's path is laid in the middle zone, between the sky and the earth, not simply on the earth. His separateness from the earth emphasises the perception of the threefold division of the world and makes it observable. Winter adds the experience of the horizonless landscape and allows the divine experience of infinity.

* See: "A Winter Landscape with a Bridge", by Kaia Lehari, 2000.

Bridge City, Lausanne, 1988 (project), by Bernard Tschumi

Interface Flon Railway and Metro Station,  Lausanne, 1994-2001, by Bernard Tschumi

Back to the Russian Constructivists and Zaha Hadid

Malevich’s Tektonik 1977, London - United Kingdom

For the graduation project at the Architectural Association, Zaha Hadid explored the ‘mutation’ factor for the programme requirements of a hotel on the Hungerford Bridge over the Thames. The horizontal ‘tektonik’ conforms to and makes use of the apparantly random composition of Suprematist forms to meet the demands of the programme and the site.

The bridge links the nineteenth century side of the river with the South Bank, which is dominated by the Brutalist forms of a 1950’s arts complex. The fourteen levels of the building systematically adhere to the tektonik, turning all conceivable constraints into new possibilities for space.

The project has particular resonance with Hadid’s later projects. First, in the Great Utopia show at the Guggenheim, she was able to realize some of these tektoniks in concrete form, and second in the Habitable Bridge project, which considered the possibilities of a mixed-use development over the Thames.

- Zaha Hadid Architects press release

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