TICKLER: A Play of Sound and Light

Extra Firm, USA

Explanatory Note

No trolls live under Толбухинский мост—just a dismal and relatively uneventful dirtscape surrounding река Которосль 13m below. The bridge spans more dirt than water; for the cars and occasional pedestrian crossing, both can pass beneath unnoticed and without celebration. What would happen if the bridge, instead of perpetrating a long pause in the rhythms of the city, served as a locus of its social and infrastructural heartbeat? We propose to put a troll under the bridge: a TICKLER.

We like spaces of play. We like the act of discovery, and the vivacity of a structure that responds to human touch. We propose a new suspended pathway that plays music when you walk by, reflects the shifting headlights of cars onto itself, and provides a tactile retreat with intense moments of exposure and vista. Throughout is the organizing theme of rhythm.

TICKLER: A Play of Sound and Light

Physically, TICKLER spans from the north land-dam and adjacent playground, high above река Которосль, to the city street nearest the south bridge abutment This over-river passing is designed as phase one of a two-phase project; phase two extends from the north playground all the way to the city street adjacent to the north bridge abutment, completing the entire path from bridge end to bridge end.

The walk meanders below the West side of Толбухинский мост to take advantage of watery sunsets and views to Церковь Иоанна Предтечи. It is wide enough for both pedestrians and cyclists, and through its undulating form and protrusions, encourages places of gathering and respite. While the outboard side of TICKLER employs porous netting to guard from falls, the inward side features a series of chimes and wood blocks. When someone steps on the area of deck in front of a chime, it activates a hidden mallet and sounds off. The chimes vary in length to yield different tones, and are spaced out to compose a varying cadence. A song is performed!

Amidst the musical revelry a second rhythm plays out across the bridge: at each pier, the path projects outward and through the netting to an outlook platform. This is where sunset watchers converse with river fishermen at dusk. In-between piers the walk is compressed behind the netting in a series of undulations. Along this middle-ground, patrons are faced with no rigid barrier between them and the river outboard; the soft net is intended to leave one with a direct feeling of connection to that below. Meanwhile, the inward barrier allows for a more sheltered experience,visually blocking the dank underbelly of Толбухинский мост.

In the dark of night, a third performance takes place: small mirrors reflect points of light from passing cars down to TICKLER, dancing across the netting, deck, and chimes and elucidating the rhythm of the infrastructure above. The far-end brake lights, we believe, would illuminate the walk with a soft reddish glow. From the bridge above the reflectors are the only indication what is below, perhaps subtle enough to evade all but those who happen to have experienced the fantastical rhythms beneath the Толбухинский мост.


Extra Firm

New York City



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