NEW BRIDGE IN ALCÁNTARA

Alcántara (Cáceres) | 2018

The project for the new bridge parallel to the Roman one solves the needs of infrastructures, improving the road layout and freeing the historic bridge from road traffic. It must be considered that since its construction by Cayo Julio Lácer at the beginning of the 2nd century AD until the 20th century, all the traffic that has supported the monument has been that of people, horses or small carriages. Today, weighty trucks rattle across the pavement of his driveway.

But also the new work has to solve the cultural needs of heritage, preservation and enhancement of the monument, inviting its visit and its perception from multiple points of view, hitherto unknown.

At the same time, each of the types of environment users must have their answer:

  • The driver of a vehiclethat has to cross the new bridge safely protected with the standard side barriers, enjoying the view of the Roman Bridge.
  • The visitorwho comes to admire Lácer’s work, and who is to be offered a complete experience with appropriate parking, (releasing Millán’s abutments from cars and buses), an explanation of the bridge in an interpretation centre and a tour-walk through the environment with the possibility of multiple and new points of view.
  • The user of the farmslocated on the right bank, downstream of the Roman Bridge. Access to these estates must be possible, coexisting with tourist visitors, connecting with the existing path that starts from the right abutment of Millán and that goes into the Tajo Internacional natural park.

THE ARCH BRIDGE

The proposed structural solution of a corten steel arch with an upper deck supported by piles, of the same material, is formally and structurally justified.

From a formal point of view:

  • The river span is cleared solved without intermediate supports, interfering minimally in the environment.
  • The steel arch typology used in dialogue with the Roman stone arch. The Romans were the inventors of the structural arch, which was a technical revolution over Greek-Hellenistic architecture that did not know it and used just the lintel. A contemporary work that wants to enter into dialogue with a Roman, with two thousand years in between, must necessarily use the arch as a structural form, interpreted in the current key, but arch definitively. We want to remember here the success of the Mérida Museum of Roman Art, where entirely contemporary spaces are Romanized thanks to the use of arches.
  • On the light steel arch, the piles are arranged in a classic order rhythm, 1/10 of the total span of the structure. The steel deck rests on the piers as a lintel that slides from the right abutment to the left.

This composition is directly related to the classical Greco-Roman engineering to which the Alcántara Bridge belongs, subliminally connecting the perception of both works in an effect that we believe is analogous to the one previously commented on by the Mérida Museum.

Regarding the material, self-oxidizing corten steel is chosen, for four reasons:

  • For its visual lightness, decontaminating the oppressive environment created by the concrete mass of the upstream dam.
  • For its colour relationship with the environment. The slate stone oxidized by its iron composition.
  • For its null maintenance. Corten steel auto-oxidizes are creating a patina that protects it from advancing corrosion, making cleaning and repainting of the structure unnecessary.
  • For its greater constructive simplicity as a consequence of its lightness.

INFO

Project author ESTUDIO AIA
Location Alcántara (Cáceres)
Promoter Junta de Extremadura
Project date 2019
State In progress

 

 

AWARDS

1st Award Project Competition

The project for the new bridge parallel to the Roman one solves the needs of infrastructures, improving the road layout and freeing the historic bridge from road traffic. It must be considered that since its construction by Cayo Julio Lácer at the beginning of the 2nd century AD until the 20th century, all the traffic that has supported the monument has been that of people, horses or small carriages. Today, weighty trucks rattle across the pavement of his driveway.

But also the new work has to solve the cultural needs of heritage, preservation and enhancement of the monument, inviting its visit and its perception from multiple points of view, hitherto unknown.

At the same time, each of the types of environment users must have their answer:

  • The driver of a vehiclethat has to cross the new bridge safely protected with the standard side barriers, enjoying the view of the Roman Bridge.
  • The visitorwho comes to admire Lácer’s work, and who is to be offered a complete experience with appropriate parking, (releasing Millán’s abutments from cars and buses), an explanation of the bridge in an interpretation centre and a tour-walk through the environment with the possibility of multiple and new points of view.
  • The user of the farmslocated on the right bank, downstream of the Roman Bridge. Access to these estates must be possible, coexisting with tourist visitors, connecting with the existing path that starts from the right abutment of Millán and that goes into the Tajo Internacional natural park.

THE ARCH BRIDGE

The proposed structural solution of a corten steel arch with an upper deck supported by piles, of the same material, is formally and structurally justified.

From a formal point of view:

  • The river span is cleared solved without intermediate supports, interfering minimally in the environment.
  • The steel arch typology used in dialogue with the Roman stone arch. The Romans were the inventors of the structural arch, which was a technical revolution over Greek-Hellenistic architecture that did not know it and used just the lintel. A contemporary work that wants to enter into dialogue with a Roman, with two thousand years in between, must necessarily use the arch as a structural form, interpreted in the current key, but arch definitively. We want to remember here the success of the Mérida Museum of Roman Art, where entirely contemporary spaces are Romanized thanks to the use of arches.
  • On the light steel arch, the piles are arranged in a classic order rhythm, 1/10 of the total span of the structure. The steel deck rests on the piers as a lintel that slides from the right abutment to the left.

This composition is directly related to the classical Greco-Roman engineering to which the Alcántara Bridge belongs, subliminally connecting the perception of both works in an effect that we believe is analogous to the one previously commented on by the Mérida Museum.

Regarding the material, self-oxidizing corten steel is chosen, for four reasons:

  • For its visual lightness, decontaminating the oppressive environment created by the concrete mass of the upstream dam.
  • For its colour relationship with the environment. The slate stone oxidized by its iron composition.
  • For its null maintenance. Corten steel auto-oxidizes are creating a patina that protects it from advancing corrosion, making cleaning and repainting of the structure unnecessary.
  • For its greater constructive simplicity as a consequence of its lightness.

INFO

Project author ESTUDIO AIA
Location Alcántara (Cáceres)
Promoter Junta de Extremadura
Project date 2019
State In progress

 

 

AWARDS

1st Award Project Competition

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