No other city in the world has so many large and small bridges as does Venice. The addition of one more should not cause much of an impression — except that the construction of a new pedestrian bridge over the Grand Canal, only the fourth to be built since the 16th century, is clearly a national and international event. In November 1999, Santiago Calatrava was commissioned to design this new bridge. The project is sited at an extremely strategic point, connecting the railway station with the Piazzale Roma. The bridge is important both functionally and symbolically, giving visitors their first impressions of Venice and providing a panoramic view of the Grand Canal.
Care has been taken to integrate the bridge with the quays on either side. The steps and ramps are designed to add vitality to both sides of the canal, while the abutments, which are crescent shaped, leave pedestrians with free access to the quays. The areas at either end act as extensions of the bridge, creating new celebratory spaces for Venice. On the south side, the design also provides a new passage between Piazzale Roma and the mooring platforms for the ACTV water transport.
The bridge is 94-meter long (308 feet), with a central span of 81 meters (266 feet). It rises from a height of 3.2 meters (10.5 feet) to 9.28 meters (30 feet) at midpoint. The all-steel structural element consists of a central arch of very large radius (180 meters or 590 feet), with two side arches and two lower arches. Joining the arches are girders made of steel tubes and plates, forming closed section boxes, which are placed radial to the main radius. The steps and deck of the bridge are made of tempered security glass, natural Istria and Trachite stones, picking up the design of the existing pavement (the abutments, made of reinforced concrete are clad in the same stone). The parapet is entirely glass, with a bronze handrail comprising its upper edge. At night, fluorescent bulbs set within the handrail will illuminate the path, adding to the stage-set effect created by illumination from below the transparent deck. Spotlights set low on the walls will illuminate the ground on either end of the bridge.
Bridges in Venice do more than just joining the different parts of the city together. They serve as landmarks, meeting places, defining points in an utterly unique urban fabric. The design for Quarto Ponte sul Canal Grande aspires to meet these needs fully, while contributing a markedly new and vital element to the Grand Canal.
1999 - 2008
Ponte della Costituzione
30100 Città Metropolitana di Venezia
- Il Principe e L'Architetto