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Calatrava’s Samuel Beckett Bridge Opens in Dublin

Friday, December 11, 2009

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Samuel Beckett Bridge, designed by renowned architect Santiago Calatrava, was formally opened Thursday in Dublin, Ireland. The span, designed to help reduce vehicular traffic in the city center, connects the north and south sides of the River Liffey.

The inaugural ceremony, at Sir John Rogersons Quay, was presided over by the Lord Mayor of Dublin.

Calatrava was commissioned by the Dublin City Council to design a signature bridge that would contribute significantly to the city's transport infrastructure. The bridge carries four lanes-two for traffic, with cycle tracks and pedestrian paths on either side, as well as room for trams, to be added in the future. To facilitate maritime traffic, Calatrava designed the bridge with the ability to rotate 90 degrees horizontally, enabling ships to pass.

The span is the second signature bridge the architect has designed for the city of Dublin; the first was the James Joyce Bridge, completed in 2003. The bridges bear the names of two literary giants of Ireland-the novelist Joyce and the playwright, poet, and writer Beckett.

In an announcement issued by Caltrava's U.S. publicist, the architect said, "It's rare that an artist is able to contribute to the blueprint of such a historically rich city, and I am deeply honored to provide Dublin with not one, but two signature bridges." He added: "While working on the James Joyce Bridge, I developed a deep affinity for the people of Dublin, and I wanted my next bridge to celebrate that connection. It is my sincere hope that the Samuel Beckett Bridge will serve as a monument to Dublin, honoring its past, present and future."

Calatrava visits the Samuel Beckett Bridge, photo credit Digital Post Production
Architect Santiago Calatrava at the new Samuel Beckett Bridge in Dublin, Ireland. Photo, Digital Post Production.

In the announcement, Calatrava said his vision for the bridge presented a challenge, as he was faced with the task of creating a span that aesthetically belonged to the present, yet also evoked a sense of the past. His interpretation is a bridge in the form of a harp-a historical and prominent symbol of Ireland-with steel cables as strings, giving modern structural elements traditional significance.

"The result is a bridge that both functionally and artistically pays homage to Dublin and its people," the announcement states.

Caltrava, alluding to the creative gifts of Joyce and Beckett, said it was his hope "that both the Samuel Beckett and James Joyce bridges evoke the spirit of these iconic artists."

Samuel Beckett Bridge, photo credit Peter Barrow Photographers
The new Samuel Beckett Bridge in Dublin, Ireland. Photo, Peter Barrow Photographers.

   

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