Architects: Ja Architecture Studio
Location: Maribor, Slovenia
The Footbridge of Maribor is located in the city of Maribor, the second largest city in Slovenia is getting ready to become the European Capital of Culture in 2012. As part of the three catalyst projects to revive the historic riverfront of the city, the city of Maribor host a competition to design a 130 meter long footbridge for walking and cycling on the location of a demolished historic bridge. Ja Studio’s proposal was an effort to re-visit the idea of the bridge as a multi-functional urban surface that resolves its geometry between the structural issues of crossing and spanning and the functional opportunities that may potentially arise from these structural necessities. Below is the submitted description for our entry:
The Drava Experience
Crossing the new pedestrian Lent-Tabor Bridge would be as important as spending time on it. The proximity of the existing bridges over Drava along Lent Tabor embankment provides an opportunity for the new bridge to perform more than a crossing bridge and become both a landmark and a vibrant urban surface that is intensely engaged with water.
The spontaneity of use
The bridge is designed as a 15m wide surface that can create a variety of experiential condition between people and Drava. The undulation of the bridge surface on one hand provides the structural stability of the bridge and at the same time allows the users to reach the water and engage in variety of spontaneous activities. From collective joy of watching a rowing competition during Lent festival to a romantic encounter on a narrow walkway down from the ridge, the range of possible interaction of people and water becomes infinite. People’s spontaneous use of this urban surface would turn the bridge to an urban spectacle.
The top surface of the bridge would be covered with wood decking that turns to steps on the accessible areas and morphs into a single sloped surface on the steep conditions. The single surface areas will be protected from public access by a combination of steel tube guardrails. The ridge of the surface is a horizontal pathway that forms a datum for the bridge and connects the two sides of the bridge.
Drava as the reflection of Maribor
As part of the bridge experience would be from underneath, the underside of the bridge is clad with mirror finished copper roofing sheets to both protect the structure of the bridge and reflect the Drava ripples and the colors of historic Maribor clay tile roofs.
The image of Drava is the reflection of Maribor and the bridge. The choice of copper as the material for the underside of the bridge once reflected in Drava would give more presence to this idea. The harmony of copper with the roof clay tiles would tie the reflected image of Lent to the reflected image of Tabor and would seamlessly connect the two sides of the river.