A memorial place
• The High Bridge was built in 1848 and made obsolete in 1970. It is the oldest bridge of New York. It is a survival of the past.
• Today, it is no longer operating (technical), and it is no longer a pedestrian crossing between Manhattan and the Bronx (usage).
• However, he remained standing as testimony to a bygone days in the history of the City of New York.
• It is no longer practiced, but he has a strong existence in the landscape and the consciences. Thanks to a strongvisual and historic imprint.
• It is the manifesto of the nostalgia for the edges of the old Harlem River – the green banks and the promenade between Manhattan and the Bronx.
• But in its abandonment, it also gives the see a terrible physical and geographical remoteness. An out-of-service bridge is a wall.
• It operates a first graft on the bridge in 1927 to allow easier traffic of boats on the Harlem River.
• Each arch of the bridge accommodates traffic lanes: railways and expressways for cars – without forgetting the boats navigate on the river over which it steps. It is the filter of the incessant movement of the city.
• The bridge is an element which in time became integratedinto the landscape until merge completely with him. The landscape has changed so much since. We modify it, we by- pass it, we pass down and above according to the needs of the time. But always, it lives – imperturbable.
• But the bridge itself is a prosthesis. A prosthesis in the landscape that should allow the river crossing.
• It is this idea of prosthesis that has guided the development of the project. The prosthesis responds to needs. Needs over time remained and others have emerged. And despite the closure of the bridge, the need to cross stayed. Especially since the points of crossing became rare and difficult in this part of the city.
• On the other hand the need of the communities of the district to meet is new. It is the need necessary to release itself from an isolation and to be finally able to share, exchange, communicate and learn(and teach).
• The bridge must accommodate new prosthesis to satisfy these new needs.
An atypical place
• The bridge is by nature an atypical element. It allows that a landscape often does not allow generally – a cross between the two banks of a river.
• Originally the bridge was built to be an aqueduct. It is secondarily that it has for function to be a crosswalk. In 1917, it stops being an aqueduct – stays its second function. The aqueduct becomes a footbridge.
• So the bridge is a technical object from which the first function was diverted. Perhaps what has helped its survival.
• The bridge is a singular urban element which is totally lost today in the infrastructures: freeways, lines of railway and bridges wider than him.
• It is in this singularity, in this atypical character that the project develops. The bridge must allow the creation of anArts Center. So it is on the bridge that set up the project.
• Just like the inhabited bridges of the Middle Ages, volumes are grafted onto the bridge. The project takes advantage of the uniqueness of the bridge in the landscape by incorporating it.
• These are volumes that « slide » on the line of the bridge. This is to take effect with the movements of the city against bottom: automobile movement, water movement, etc..
• The project has to allow the meeting and the discovery. A big part of the program is installed in the visual gravity center of the bridge. It then draws a kneecap which allows the free horizontal circulation (bridge) and vertical circulation (elevators). At the foot of this kneecap, there are low entry program, adjacent to a parking and a pier.
• The rest of the program is installed in the landscape (High Bridge Park) in small entities as architectural follies.