Under the bridge - for people
Oskar Amiri, Piotr Maćkiewicz, Poland
Bridges that are filled in the urban structure remains close to its inhabitants, being seen, but not visited – for there is not a single reason why should they. The remote place — offering literally nothing — is not the one that you cross by on your way with daily routines.
Therefore it is essential that the area itself became a destination of choice, the one that is planned to see and reach. It is possible, through fulfilling it with alternatives to be done, which will prove to be attractive for people. Here immediately occurs the problem of fitting the solution to everybody’s needs. Speaking about people it is knowingly hard to define universal solutions that will guarantee the popularity of newly created space.
Having an awareness of things mentioned above we decided to open the place functionally for as much groups of people as it was possible. The aim was to give almost every inhabitant from local neighbourhood – but not only them – a reason, pretext to get there. We tried to get in touch with different age groups in order to integrate them around one place – give the people of all age the feeling of belonging and affiliation. We attempted to combine one area for those, who are interested in culture and co-create it, with those who prefer sport and outdoor activities. Physical closeness of them — using the same space, meeting each other — will presumably result with increased contact between members of different groups. It will also present to some of them the idea of different activities to be done; possibly interest them with new hobbies to explore.
Good public space – and we think of this place as one of them – should not only provide variety of possibilities, but be able to do so in different conditions and situations. What we have as a base is roof – shelter from the rain or snow, but we don’t have the interior, which could sustain even the hardest weather. One option in presented situation is to create it by using architecture, but we didn’t choose that. For answering why, we find a few explanations. First of all, interior must be maintained, what costs, and we believe in self- sufficient solutions. Secondly, in temporary absence of people — for instance in night — it becomes risky, for it attracts crimes to happen in remote and visually isolated areas. One another argument is that big advantage of place under the bridge is widely open space, and it would be cruel to ignore it by creating unnecessary volume in it.
The key element in our proposal is marketplace, for we believe that always, where there are people, there is trade. Trade of goods, trade of knowledge, trade as a way of spending free time, meeting people, the heart of human life – widely understood exchange. One of way to interact with others is to perform. Scene dislikes emptiness, and encourages to act. Providing just a chance one can expect action. Barely infrastructure is needed, when there is initiative and spirit. Moment of show might be gone with a blink of an eye, but there is kind of transfer that stays. Words and even more – images – can stay longer and become a permanent message to those who care to look. Young people leave their thoughts and visions on many walls they pass by – some of them are visually damaged that way. If there is a constant need to express self, why not to give opportunity to do so? For those who choose outdoor physical activities as a way of spending their free time and integrate with others we prepared some alternatives, providing variety of options, basing on different will and temporary weather conditions. In some cases elderly people stay in homes only due to lack of interesting possibilities outside. Sometimes we forget that not all of them are easily done by them. What is very important in creating a public space is equal access for all users, ever for those, who find it difficult to walk a longer distances, or to climb bigger stairs. Despite of physical disabilities elderly people have their place in societies and we want them to join our space and interact with others.
For dealing with weather [and other] conditions we prefer to take advantage of it, rather than to try to change it. When there won’t be no more proper time for some outdoor activities, you can always transform the space, or simply use it in other way. One of possibilities is to go skating on ice, play hockey or build snow fortress. For sustaining hardest conditions we chose architectural solution that could survive everything – from temperature to human malice. That gives us the certainty to think of created space in following years rather than months, slowly transforming and changing with people and their needs.
Oskar Amiri, Piotr Maćkiewicz