Challenge the convention of a bridge as merely a thoroughfare? You bet… Zvesda’s competition proposal dares to create urban space – mid-span – that creates a new hot spot for experiencing Ljubljana
The Ljubljanica Waterway bisects the old district within the historic city of Ljubljana, Slovenia. In the late 1800s and early 1900s a series of pedestrian and vehicular transit bridges were constructed to unite the city. One such pedestrian footbridge has far surpassed its life expectancy and needs to be replaced. The local Slovenian government initiated a competition to find a more modern design.
Creating the Form
The primary objective behind the Infinity Bridge is to enhance the experience of crossing over the Ljubljanica Waterway by emphasizing the bridge’s physical relationship to the surrounding city. A series of three manipulations are made to a standard C-Channel Bridge to arrive at its final form.
First, we push the railing towards the water below; the feeling of boundaries that’s typical of conventional bridges is reduced, creating our hardscape infinity edge. New views of the foreground relationship of the waterway with the landmarked bridges to the north and south are created. Our second manipulation pulls the railings away from the main circulation path to create hips that are articulated with plaza-style stairs where visitors can linger and enjoy the historic city views. Finally, the hips are offset in opposite directions to deliver panoramic views that include the scenic banks of the waterway. This offset also serves to prevent bottlenecking at the bridge’s main thoroughfare.
These three operations – pushing, pulling, and offsetting – accomplish two things: they honor the existing bridge’s form and they transform it into a contemporary attraction for residents and visitors alike. Lighting on the bridge’s main deck and in the adjacent stair risers accents the circular path and highlights the spaces for lingering. Infinity Bridge makes a strong graphic statement while subtly paying homage to its historic context.