Thomas Sériès

HIGHTOWERS BRIDGE : BRONX
HBBX BUILDING CULTURAL INFRASTRUCTURE
It may come to mind to the designer to make a design that can release about him creative energies, suggest possibilities, open minds, take action, find references and connections that one may find for himself, if he wants to find them, and that everyone can find.
Ettore Sottsass in Creative pubblico, in Casabella Milan n°378 juin 1973


An arts center that culturally reinforces the physical connection between the Manhattan and Bronx Highbridge communities of New York City, or how disused historic structures can be reprogrammed into vibrant urban centers. The HB:BX competition is a real treat for us, the site and the program offering a huge potential and we are so fortunate to be given this brief. The premise of the competition is at heart with our concerns: understanding the city as a great palimpsest, constantly changing and reinventing shapes and purposes on the foundation of historical leftovers.

1* the tower bridge The bridge as it is has a historical denseness yet no emotional character that would bring people together. It doesn’t stand as a feature amongst Manhattan’s sights, and we propose to give it its distinctive attractiveness by upgrading its bridge status. At that point we thought of the London Bridge, spectacular with its 4 pillar-towers. Our proposal stands from this London Bridge idea: we endow the bridge a fake superstructure of 4 towers, 2 on each bank. This new combination of structure interlocks in a particular deal: the contemporary towers emphasize the original being of the bridge, which is the link between Manhattan and the Bronx, noticeable and active, while the historical bridge gives the new constructions their meaning, it supports their being there, liberating the possibility of the most daring expressions. The elementary stays seem to pull up the bridge at the same time they keep the towers from flying away. The towers “ride” the bridge, instilling a fresh walk-through. Just by emphasising the historical infrastructure we improve it.

2* Open the angle Design a promenade from Harlem to the Bronx. Provoke a pedestrian walk-through with new ways up and down, re-linking the bridge and the river banks.Today the path is obstructed and dull. The first obstacle being the Recreation Center, we move the swimming pool down by the riverside. The recreation existing building is opened to become the West Gate to the project. Going through that entrance you find yourself on the Plaza (formerly the swimming pool).A footbridge extends to connect the Bridge, going under the first tower. The bridge itself is fitted with high banisters – stands for open-air exhibition, providing a light shelter along the walk. You stop there down on your right is the Copper- field tower. Further along you can go down to the riverside attracted by the new swimming pool and the exciting Heart Café. The pool itself becomes a feature that encourages the walk trough the bridge. Going up back on the bridge you end the stroll on the footbridge under the Bronx towers. The towers design a new perspective from one end to another.

3* between Robert Smithson and David Copperfield Highlighting the existing Bridge with monumental site sculptures along the distance.Create enthusiasm. About our architectural practice: we feel contemporary architecture, has nothing to do with style (in a classical meaning) to keep worthwhile on the long-run, the challenge is not the style but the emotion, the urge, the quiver, the uncertainty it conveys. Therefore we go for forms which fight the common notions of gravity, distort angles in extraordinary ways and doing this we go for happy designs where there would be a catch for everyone. HB:BX An arts center that culturally reinforces the physical connection between the Manhattan and Bronx Highbridge communities of New York City, or how disused historic structures can be reprogrammed into vibrant urban centers.
"Il peut venir à l'esprit du designer de faire un design qui puisse libérer autour de lui des énergies créatives, suggérer des possibilités,
ouvrir des consciences, ramener les pieds sur la planète, prendre des mesures, trouver des références..."

"IT MAY COME TO MIND TO THE DESIGNER TO MAKE A DESIGN THAT CAN RELEASE AROUND HIM CREATIVE ENERGIES, SUGGEST POSSIBILITIES, OPEN MINDS, TAKE ACTION, FIND REFERENCES..."
Ettore Sottsass