Bridges, dreams of freedom in times of confinement

Bridges, born throughout history as constructions created to unite territories, to facilitate the movement and encounter of people, acquire a special meaning in the middle of the Covid-19 pandemic, when much of the planet is confined or has many travel restrictions. The bridges are evocative, photogenic, cinematic: the Brooklyn Bridge in New York, the Golden Gate in San Francisco, the Ponte Vecchio in Florence, the Charles Bridge in Prague … Many of them have starred in unforgettable films such as “The Bridge on the River Kwai “,” The Bridge of Spies “,” The Bridges of Madison “or” The Lovers of the Pont Neuf “, to name just four examples. But bridges have also been a priority objective in wars. As a witness to one of the most recent, that of Mostar, on the Neretva River, which was destroyed in 1993 during the war in the former Yugoslavia. It was rebuilt and reopened in 2004 as a symbol of national reconciliation. Cities like Venice or Paris would not be so romantic without their beautiful bridges: Sighs, Alma, Pont Neuf … Bridge over the Mersey River (Liverpool) – FHECOR It is precisely the bridges that star in an exhibition with which it reopens its doors the Central de Diseño de Matadero Madrid. As a result of the collaboration between the Madrid Design Foundation (DIMAD) and FHECOR – a consulting company specialized in structural engineering, which in 2019 obtained a mention in the National Innovation and Design Awards -, “Designing bridges” brings together, until 13 September, around twenty bridges and footbridges designed by FHECOR in various parts of the world in the last 20 years, which can be admired through models, photographs, plans and audiovisuals. Among the works on display there are engineering projects of different structural typologies, such as the bridge over the Mersey River (Liverpool), the one over the Viveiro estuary (Lugo), the Zabalgana footbridge (Vitoria), the bridges over the Tagus river (Alcántara) and on the Guadalquivir (Montoro), the footbridge over the Miño river (Vila Nova de Cerveira, Portugal), the bridge over the Genil river (Granada), the Harley Street footbridge (Cork, Ireland) or the viaduct over the Ulla river. Bridge over the Tagus River (Alcántara, Cáceres) – FHECOR Roberto Turégano, curator of the exhibition, explains to ABC that “the exhibition aims to demonstrate the power of design and creativity in the construction of bridges in Spanish engineering.” Is Spain among the great bridge-building powers? “Don’t go in, I think we are the best,” he points out. And he cites as an example the Mersey Bridge, in the United Kingdom, which is “the longest cable-stayed bridge at present and has been built by this Spanish company. We do not fully understand the power of our own companies. Bridge over the Guadalquivir River (Montoro, Córdoba) – FHECOR For the curator of the exhibition, “building bridges is essential to establish solid and lasting relationships between people, human groups and even between declared adversaries. It is always possible to resolve conflicts and advance in our challenges if one is willing to look, cross or travel the space that separates one shore from the other, overcoming obstacles ». «You have to cross the bridges, find yourself on them. The bridge has so much meaning … It is a very rich world », says Turégano. Your favorite bridge? «There is one that I really like in Bassano del Grappa, in Italy. It is made of wood, covered. It is like a great hall where you can see the Alps ». José Romo, CEO of FHECOR and bridge designer, comments that “for more than 40 years we have had the opportunity to design emblematic bridges and footbridges in very different places in Spain and Europe of which we are very proud. With this exhibition we wanted to “build bridges” to citizens and share with them these works that have been done in this century and that we believe contribute to improving the urban landscape and the quality of life of those who use them ». .