Richard Meier & Partners has completed its first pedestrian and vehicular bridge. With a surface area of approximately 4,150 meters and a length of 185 meters, the new Cittadella Bridge is a precast-concrete and painted-steel modern structure designed to connect the city of Alessandria, Italy with the 18th-century citadel across the Tanaro River in northwestern 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.
While the white precast concrete and painted steel structures highlight environmental changes across the site, and have become iconic reference points visible from many locations in the city, the porfido stone pavers to the sides of the abatement walls seamlessly anchor the structure to the traditional material palette of Alessandria's streetscapes.
- Comune di Alessandria
- Richard Meier (Design Principal), John Eisler (Design Principal), Dukho Yeon (Design Principal), Simone Ferrachina (Project Manager), Alfonso d’Onofrio, Jim Sawyer
- Associate Architect & Construction Supervision
- Dante O. Benini & Partners Architects