Santiago Calatrava completes a new bridge in Italy

Text by Nick Mafi for Architectural Digest

© Santiago Calatrava LLC

For years, officials in the small Italian city of Cosenza have been working on an ambitious urban regeneration project. One of their primary goals was to bridge the gap between two neighborhoods, Contrada Gergeri and Via Reggio Calabria, which are naturally separated by the Crati River (a body of water that eventually feeds into the Ionian Sea). Naturally, they decided on constructing a bridge to unite the two areas. But they didn’t want any bridge—they wanted one with such flair and originality that it would become a landmark in and of itself. Which is why the city tapped world-renowned architect and engineer Santiago Calatrava for the task. And today, the new bridge has finally been completed.

Located in Southern Italy (near the upper shoe of Italy’s “boot”), the city of Cosenza is officially home to a striking new cable bridge designed by one of the most exciting minds in architecture. As many know, Calatrava is the man responsible for such powerful structures as New York’s World Trade Center Transportation Hub (also referred to as the Oculus), Rio de Janeiro’s Museum of Tomorrow, and Valencia’s L’Hemisfèric, among others. Calatrava’s newest design, dubbed the Cosenza Bridge, is a cable-stayed structure that, upon first glance, looks much like a massive harp that’s been slung above moving water. The structure was made using steel, concrete, and natural stone, stretching some 460 feet between the two neighborhoods. Traffic for both vehicles and pedestrians moves in both directions. And while the design does not currently offer protection from inclement weather, the structure allows for the addition of a steel and glass-clad pedestrian shelter. “I’m proud and honored to be a part of this momentous urban improvement project for the City of Cosenza,” Santiago Calatrava said in a statement. “Thank you to the officials of Cosenza who have placed their trust in me to deliver such an important piece of urban infrastructure that supports their ambitious urban regeneration plan.”

With his most recent completed structure, Calatrava now has three architectural feats throughout Italy. The two others are a high-speed railway station in Reggio Emilia and the Ponte della Costituzione (also known as Constitution Bridge) in Venice. Of course, designing bridges is nothing new to Calatrava’s impressive oeuvre. In fact, the Spanish-born architect designed Puente del Alamillo, a bridge in Seville built for the 1992 World’s Fair (also referred to as Expo ’92 or Universal Exposition of Seville).

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