Reggio Emilia. Motorway bridge. Santiago Calatrava. 2007

Santiago Calatrava,

Reggio Emilia, Italy,



Construction of the high speed railway line through the region of Reggio Emilia offers an opportunity for redevelopment of a strategic part of the traffic and mobility system in the northern area.

Reggio Emilia. Motorway bridge. Santiago Calatrava. 2007 In this particular location, the presence of a stadium, a trade fair complex and an important industrial district requires special attention to improve traffic flows.The work programme includes construction of a spectacular bridge designed by Spanish architect and engineer Santiago Calatrava.
The structure, a true masterpiece combining advanced construction technology with outstanding aesthetic quality, is a viaduct over the motorway and railway lines. The bridge's 221 metre span forms a shape which stands out for more than just its size ? though it is more than 25 metres wide and 46 metres high. The viaduct has 4 vehicle lanes each 3.5 metres wide, plus 2 emergency lanes and 2 bicycle and pedestrian paths.
The entire construction is enclosed in a structure made entirely out of steel, except for the shoulders supporting the arch. The bridge?s simple but strongly accented design gives the entire composition an elegant aerodynamic form. The composition is given personality by its arched pier and its stays, which also play an important structural role, supporting the entire weight of the bridge: more than 4 thousand tons.
Colour and lighting were chosen to highlight the shape, structure and materials of the bridge, underlining the balance of Calatrava?s composition.White reigns here, the sole colour, associated with artificial lighting from above. Light sources on the guardrails make the lanes more visible, while those located on the inside margin of the bridge emphasise its cables and arched pier.
The result is a pure, elegant figure by day, and a bridge that appears suspended over the plains around it at night.Calatrava kept the landscape in mind at all times while working on the design, especially because the flat land makes all architectural work immediately visible. This is why he chose a slender form to be surrounded with plenty of greenery. The result is in harmony with the landscape and contributes a strong but non?invasive presence to it.

Laura Della Badia

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