Mutant Bridges

Ángel Borrego

19 March 2010

Video, 16:9, HD, 3-6’ Scale models, size and media variable

An inheritance from the Enlightenment, the bridges we know today are conceived exclusively for the core purpose for which they exist in the first place: to get from A to B. But people actually use them for other purposes too, though in situations that range from the alegal to the illegal. For instance, puenting ̧ what in English is known as bungee jumping—an activity often enabled by a bridge—actually comes from puente, the Spanish word for bridge.

OSS defends the idea that, once having decided to build a bridge, it doesn’t cost much extra to add one or more uses or options to its design. Part of the project for a bridge should therefore consist in thinking how the bridge could be used by other trans-species users. Given their inherent nature, a large number of bridges cross through spectacular landscapes, between mountains, in surroundings that could equally benefit from a new habitat. In Asturias, with its mountains and valleys sweeping down to the sea, the motorway that cuts through them, the growing numbers of tourists and its privileged location in relation to the Camino to Santiago, bridges and viaducts could offer other services besides the uninvolved passing over of cars and goods at high speed. They could play host to little mini-hotels with special features for various animal species (including people); be used for having tea in a little capsule swinging in the wind in empty space, for various types of diving boards and games with water; as places for spectacular views, as pedestrian and bicycle crossings between mountainsides that are otherwise inaccessible; and, in short, the very spectacle of the action and activity of people on a scale proper to the valley and not to the structure of a much greater territory.

The minimum extra cost of adding these modifications, these new functions, could easily be offset by their social, environmental, cultural and economic benefits. These additions could also be applied to bridges that already exist. OSS’s project for Habitar is conceived around the Silva bridge, with its spectacular views of the Atlantic Ocean and equally spectacular height and position. Mutant Bridges could be the first symbols of a more open, permissive and multiple society.

Acknowledgments: Project undertaken thanks to 2nd Biennial of the Canary Islands; Ángela Ruiz; Juanma Palerm; Ignacio García-Arango Cienfuegos, Head of State Roads Delegation in Asturias; Reyes Canga, Head of Office of Dept of Environment, Zoning and Infrastructures; Sara Verd, Delegation of Government of Principality of Asturias (Dept of Public Works)