THE CATALYST - 'DIRECTOR'S CHOICE AWARD, 2016'
[AC-CA] International Competition - Dublin Contemporary Footbridge
Team: Feng Xue, Oscar Reyes & Helen Chan
The brief for the competition called for a pedestrian footbridge 130 meters long and minimum 3 meters wide to span the River Liffey, integrating programs such as Wi-Fi hotspots, mobile device charging and bicycle parking stations on both banks.
'The Catalyst' is a dynamic link which stimulates diverse urban activities and facilitates a spectacular cityscape.
Our proposal begins its development from one question, “How can our design enhance the centre of Dublin, one of the most iconic cities of Ireland?”. Set within the heart of Dockland, our proposal acts as a catalytic platform to stimulate activity around its immediate surroundings. The prime location of the bridge in the transforming Dockland area invites a diverse audience to the showcase of the city whether it’s the Samuel Beckett Bridge (Harp Bridge) icon or the broader cityscape. The bridge acts as both a physical link and a new vantage point which encourages people to pause and explore the city. This pause creates an opportunity for individuals to reflect on the true identity of Dublin.
Besides creating opportunities for pause and reflection, the organic curved form is a response to the significant buildings in its surroundings such as the Harp Bridge and convention centre (CCD). In resonance with the local Georgian heritage architecture, a symmetrical approach to the bridge design was implemented.
The movement and form of our proposal redefines spaces immediately around its perimeter by providing the audiences with ample spaces suitable to enjoy the city’s character from all directions. Our bridge has dynamic interaction with both River Liffey and its adjacent streetscape. Areas which used to be barren bodies of water are now a stage for festivals and cultural events that occur throughout the year such as the Dublin Marine Festival. Moreover, this bridge can also interact with film and performances from the shores and activate the river’s edge in the Docklands area.
“A good city is like a good party. You know it’s working when people stay for much longer than really necessary, because they are enjoying themselves” - Jan Gehl
Functionally, the new bridge is a meeting place, a viewing platform for visitors, a worker’s break-out area, a lover’s dating spot, a shortcut for pedestrians and cyclists, and an amphitheatre for buskers. Despite the vast functional possibilities, our bridge proposal respects and realises the rich historical context of Dublin by creating a space that looks back at its urban context.
Our response to the enhancement of Dublin is to create a place that acts as a catalyst to activate and exhibit the transformation of the city. The bridge is a book to the stories of Dublin to be discovered.