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Footbridge over the Martesana canal

Milan [IT]



with F.Cattapan

competition participation 

The new mechanized cycle-pedestrian walkway is an extremely simple structure: a horizontal steel plane that translates vertically along four pillars arranged at the corners. The vertical translation is permitted by a system of hydraulic pistons placed in correspondence with the pillars and connected to an electrical panel: a tested, economical and reliable technology. This mechanical solution allows the normal passage of bicycles, pedestrians and people with mobility difficulties directly at the towpath level, without the use of ramps or stairs which, in addition to greatly complicating the crossing, would be very cumbersome at the attacks.


Particular attention was paid to the design of the piers and side parapets of the walkway. The parapets determine the horizontal profiles of the walkway and are made up of a series of thin and deep steel blades fixed directly on the side of the longitudinal beams. The piers are instead solid obtained from the joining of the corners of the two rectangular bases, equal in shape but rotated with respect to each other by 90 degrees, an operation which gives rise to four trapezoidal faces combined in pairs in opposite directions. The geometry adopted for these elements, even if elementary, it wants to characterize the perception of the walkway in a different way depending on the point from which you look at it or cross it. Traveling along the towpath and approaching the walkway from afar, skirting the villas of via Amalfi after the Crescenzago bridge or coming from via Idro , the parapets appear very transparent and the pylons taper upwards like small obelisks. Instead, when you get ready to cross the walkway in front of the petrol pump or from the connection with via Mamete, the perception of the parapets becomes more solid and the pylons widen towards the top recalling the shapes of shipyard winches. This double value of the form allows the building to establish a relationship both with the landscape context of the canal, the gardens and villas that overlook it, and with the more urban and chaotic one of via Padova, two distinct sections of the city that in this short stretch they come to find one in front of the other.


The minimal size of the roadway and the possibility of crossing it at street level make the walkway easily replicable in different contexts, even where the space available is extremely limited. The assembly speed of the dry system allows for quick and also suitable for the most problematic areas in which a prolonged interruption of the road system is not possible.

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