The project aims to take the example of bridge as an archetype, to reflect and project a critical take on architecture as an intentionally decided apparatus for spatial management. Bridge in cities is for people and things to pass by, with two ends and a passage aisle, is a passage apparatus, this spatial structure of a conventional bridge quite dogmatically insists on this mechanism as a connector of two territories. The idea of bridge is tied with the function of “passage”, but the project focuses on the notion of “pause” while keeping the possibility of passage.
Looking at different spatial arrangements of the city of Isfahan (Iran), not only observing different fabrics but also important archetypes:
Zayandeh-rood river goes from Open spaces west to east of the city of Isfahan all along. The river has been the reason that the city is located here in the first step. The river branches and streams have been the means to manage and organize the initial settlements around the river before there was a city as such. The garden-street Chaharbagh goes from north to the south of the city (Safavid period) when the city was undergoing urban planning phases, and the bridges were built in the history in different times for different uses.
In Isfahan the river has a very important socio-spatial characteristic, during history it has always been the place for gardens of the kings, and everyday activities of the ordinary people. This strongly continues until today despite the distant conditions of today’s cities from the past. A certain relationship with open spaces is constructed and emphasized by the river being an essential part of people’s everyday living.
Open spaces (historical squares, courtyard houses, river streams, etc), historical and nostalgic aspect (architecture of the city embodies all historical changes of this city and showcases in the current city) and transparency (spatial affect of the river, the garden-street, gardens, etc) are the three significant characteristics of the city. These three are not only evident in the totality of the city but in each of the many single archetypes as well. These are the aspects the project seeks in its design outcome.
In Si-o-se-Pol bridge (Isfahan) on the two long sides of the bridge there are the two rows of chambers which are open to the river and the view of the city, while the main aisle is just open and wide for passing through. The two sides with the very small chambers arethe places of “pause”. But not only the small size of the chambers embrace the bodies so tight that arranges the spaces for very few people in each (almost turning the chambers into private territories), but also they are completely separated from the main aisle; as if the “pause” would make the “passage apparatus” stutter.
Without the two rows of chambers alongside the bridge, the main aisle is just simply a conventional bridge, a passage mechanism. The linearity of form in the bridge emphasized the act of passing by in an almost monofunctional sense. A linear long form has a start and an end point. But what if this linear arrangement takes place in a wider surface in a completely different arrangement?
Based on the difference between type and archetype as described by Pier Vittorio Aureli in his essay City as Political Form, the project takes the two archetypes of garden and bridge to study the very specific characteristics. Their paradigmatic specificities in form led the project to come up with a final form.
The design brings together the three essential characters and creates an apparatus that is not dogmatic on its possibilities but opens up different possibilities with through its spatial arrangement. The square bridge uses its form to house diverse events.
Arranging urban furniture, corridors, using river water and light, playing with different scales, creating territories in territory, creating a garden on the bridge, using the strategic location for viewing the city, and eventually providing an open space on the river, is all the project implements in the design outcome.