Cittadella Bridge, Italy

During the flooding of Alessandria in 1994, not only did the water level reach the roadway, but also the piers of the Napoleonic Cittadella Bridge caught much of the debris in the river, effectively acting as a dam. The new design, a single span raised above the flood plain, not only solves that problem, but also reconnects the fabric of the modern city with the Cittadella, an 18th century fort and tentative UNESCO World Heritage site. By relinking Piazza Gobetti to the citadel’s remarkable structures, the project hopes to catalyze their future preservation and reuse.

The bridge also enhances the natural flow of the river Tanaro, and aspires to become a public space for the citizens of Alessandria. While the previous structure was often heavily congested with traffic, making it unsafe and virtually an obstruction for pedestrians, the new bridge provides separate parallel routes for pedestrian and vehicular circulation. The pedestrian walkway effectively becomes a public plaza through which the public and civic life of Alessandria can find a new, positive relation to the river. The vehicular side of the bridge bows strongly to the north, and as a counterbalance to this bow, the 32.5-meter-high arch of the bridge is curved to the south. The weight of the pedestrian bridge helps to maintain the balance, and with the opposing curves, creates a dynamic arrangement.