Tel-Aviv firms Bar Orian Architects and Rokach Ashkenazi Engineers have built a bridge in the Israeli city of Beersheba, featuring arches that create the shape of two eyes. The 210-metre-long bridge traverses a series of railway tracks, providing a link between the Beersheba North Railway Station and the Gav-Yam Negev Advanced Technologies Park. Bar Orian and Rokach Ashkenazi won an invited competition for the project with their design for a curving structure intended as a new landmark in this fast-developing region to the north of the city centre.
To make an architectural statement, the bridge was designed with an expressive structure that is left visible, rather than being concealed behind cladding. The structure comprises over 200 different steel-beam cross sections that support four intersecting arches, creating the two eye-shaped forms. One is 110 metres in length, while the other measures just 70 metres.
The engineering and design scheme are based on four steel arches which twist and undulate, creating two ‘eyes’ in the space between them. The arched formation creates a protected space for pedestrians, an experiential and exclusive journey, in which each step reveals a surprising view of shapes, materials, and sights. The undulating and twisting form is intended to invoke the movement of the trains passing beneath.
The dramatic angles of the supporting foundations and the tapering cross-bracing elements add to the dynamic aesthetic. The steel bridge solves an accessibility issue for employees at the technology park, who previously had to navigate around the railway tracks to reach their workplaces when arriving at a car park on the opposite side.
The bridge’s open sides allow air to flow naturally through the structure, and ensures a constant visual connection with the surrounding city as users walk across. At night, lighting integrated into the arches illuminates the structural components in between, creating the impression that the bridge is hovering above the tracks.