Christian Kerez

The Youyuan bridge . Nanjing

Christian Kerez . + zaza’

zaza’ at corso italia 16 milano shows models, drawings and videos of Christian Kerez’s new bridge in Nanjing, China.

Some bridges are just meant to connect one side of the river to the other as quickly as possible as many streets do not serve any other purpose than to connect two places on a map in the most efficient way. Totally different is the layout of footpaths within a Chinese garden.

Their movement, which might look random at first glance, is carefully arranged to allow the visitor of the garden the utmost variety of experiences within a limited and fenced area of the city. These arrangements are modest in terms of scale, but rich and full of surprises in its actual experience.

As turning points and curved movements in a Chinese garden give the visitor a variety of views to experience the same trees, bushes and plants from different views, the pathwalks of this floating garden bridge offers a huge variety of views of the Qinhuaixin River and its banks.

You can cross the foot bridge connecting the two riverbanks of Qinhuaixin River in different ways. Each of these three different walks over the same river offers different views to the river, the landscape, and the city. But all three floating path-walks, over landscape and water, are connected with each other through a series of footbridges and stairways. These three pathwalks are not only connected in movement, but build together also in structural terms, one entire bridge. In this structural system, one bridge is the support of the other bridge.

The Youyuan bridge transforms the movement of the mountains and the rivers into a continuous movement of people crossing in many different ways the Quahuaixin River. The continuous movement of nature, so beautifully transformed into the lines of Chinese ink drawings, is in this design translated into the lines of movement and the lines of a structural engineering which transforms the principles of traditional bridge buildings into a complexity as only our times can effortlessly achieve.

The bridge is modest in scale in comparison to the close-by motorway bridge or even the bridge crossing the Qinhuaixin River next to this site but this pedestrian bridge should have the potential to attract many more people arriving on the metro hub from the city and should have the potential to prepare grounds for the new Central Business District close-by.