HB:BX - Building Cultural Infrastructure

The current update of the New York High Bridge as a renovated infrastructure is, yet again, indissociable from the unique landscape of the Highbridge Park.

Both bridge and park are motives for cultural infrastructuring. The HB:BX Cultural Infrastructure merges the ‘walk by’ character of the bridge, with the open, versatile and hideout nature of the park. Its placing makes it permanently accessible from both riverbanks, and through it the connection between the Bronx and Manhattan communities is completed.

A public passageway flows by the bridge, entering the infrastructure at the lower level, to and through the elevated park roof, and divides and organizes the interior space: an area reserved to more privacy, closer to the park, and another open area that challenges the programming and exhibition of art in a public gathering environment.

The infrastructure is sustained by a 104m x 45,5m steel frame emplaced within two concrete volumes, one of them standing by the bridge and the other engraved in the hill. This powerful structural combination is enough to deal with the 23,5m level difference between the top of the park and the bridge, while also uplifting a 48m span over the lower level road system towards the river. Three additional levels are created, each with 3,9m floor-to-floor in a total of 12,55m. The standing concrete emplacement contains the elevators, service stairs and toilets, and it’s hollowed across all levels, allowing for natural light and fresh air to reach all internal public areas. The one fixed to the hill contains three parking levels with a capacity for 42 vehicles, and direct access to all floors.
In concern to the wish of creating a strong connection between the infrastructure and the surrounding communities, the program is oriented mainly towards the interdependence between spaces and functions and its permeability to the visitor. Art creation and career development are complemented on the 1st level, with the library and the research center standing by the fabrication laboratories and the double-height studio. On the 2nd level, the isolation between the rooms provided by the clear circulation makes them the perfect partitions for handling classes, workshops, or even practice sessions. The 3rd level, with abundant light and continuous spaces that link the foyer to a wide open studio, reaches out towards engaging the visitors into the process of art. This open studio area should easily satisfy the needs of an organization such as the Artists Unite. For the Bronx Museum of the Arts, an institution more focused on art promotion, there are offices that support the management of a significant part of the building: an auditorium with 242 seats hanging over a public exhibition square, structured by a fringe curtain that controls its aperture to the exterior, and isolates a wide-screen outdoor art display.

Building Cultural Infrastructure
New York, USA, 2010

The Emerging New York Architects Committee (ENYA), AIA New York Chapter
Equipa Pedro Januário Gomes, Pedro Viana
, Tiago Oudman, João Filipe Ferreira

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