Tobulhinsky Bridge Arts Complex

Stanley Russell, USA

 

Explanatory Note

This is a proposal for a new structure that attaches to the existing Tobulhinsky bridge and combines improved pedestrian access across the bridge with efficient use of the space beneath the bridge and revitalization of the adjacent areas. 

 

Problem: The Tobulhinsky bridge is typical of most bridges and viaducts around the world in that it makes an effective connection between two sides of a river valley but the space below the bridge is underutilized and often unsightly. As clearly stated in the competition brief there is an opportunity to create a new kind of urban and architectural typology in and around bridges. 

 

Tobulhinsky Bridge Arts Complex
Tobulhinsky Bridge Arts Complex

Although the Tobulhinsky bridge creates a vital vehicular and pedestrian connection to the city grid, the space be- neath the bridge is not readily accessible for pedestrians, especially from the south side of the river. Accessibility must be improved in order to make a vital environment below the bridge. Much of the space below the bridge is occupied by the Kotorosl river and it’s flood plain so a building structure cannot touch down in those areas. The river is a potential asset to the residents of the city but it is not easily accessible in the area around the bridge. 

Design concept:

A bridge is a liminal space, a conduit that allows for a constant flow back and forth. A liminal space resonates with artists who are constantly discovering, reinventing and interpreting the word through their artwork. This is a proposal for an arts complex when the visual and performing arts can be practiced, learned, performed and exhibited.

The architecture for such a place should reflect and facilitate the flow of people and ideas. 

This proposal envisions an architecture with sloping surfaces that allows pedestrians on foot or bicycles to move freely and effortlessly from both sides of the bridge down to the space beneath and to the riverside. The spaces below the sloping surfaces will become outdoor gathering and performance spaces. The space beneath the Tobulhinski bridge is vast and the scale of the support structure is monumental. This kind of space can rarely be experienced within architecture. This proposal seeks to capture the drama of that space and structure for the people of the city of Yaroslavl to experience.

Rivers provide a place for retreat as well as a stage for celebration. This proposal utilizes the space between the river and the existing levee as a plaza for events or for individuals to enjoy the river. 

 

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Solution: 

The building swoops down to the site from the north and south capturing the vast dramatic space below the bridge as a gallery for the exhibition of artwork and place for live performances. Where the building slopes up over the levee and river artist’s studios are perched above the gallery with views down the river to east and west. The sloping floors that link the upper and lower spaces become seating areas during performances as well as places to exhibit artwork. The gallery and studios are accessible from above and below via the sloping floors, which become pedestrian walkways on the outside of the building. The entire building becomes an inverted hillside that creates pedestrian access above and below the bridge. From the existing bridge level the pedestrian has the option of going up a ramp to a pedestrian walkway that traverses the bridge directly or going down a ramp to a walkway that goes all the way down to the gallery and river level. 

The underside of the sloping floors hover over the landscape creating covered outdoor spaces suitable for a variety of events.

The slope of the levee is covered with steps along its entire length transforming the adjacent outdoor space into an event space. A plaza steps up gradually from the river to the levee and serves as a place for arts events and other municipal scale events.

The sloping floors are suspended with tension cables from the existing bridge structure allowing for a clear span of space below the building. A slice is cut from the middle of the existing road along the entire length of the bridge to allow natural light into the spaces below. An expanded metal screen covers the east and west sides of the bridge shading the building and giving the bridge a distinct contemporary profile. 

 

Author:

Stanley Russell

the principal and owner of One Corner architects in Tampa Florida.  Russell worked in India in the office of Balkrishna Doshi,  in Japan in the office of Team Zoo and as a designer builder in Japan with his own company Teuchi Kenchiku.  He has taught at Miami University in Ohio,  Kanagawa University in Japan and is currently an Associate professor at the University of South Florida in Tampa Florida.

 

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