Irish War Memorial Bridge, River Liffey, Dublin
The screened terraces, sunken gardens and descending landscapes of the War Memorial Gardens designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens have a unique atmosphere of solemnity, set in a natural landscape of diurnal, seasonal and annual cycles of life and death. The adjustments in the natural topography modify the natural layers of temperature and humidity within the Liffey Valley and in doing so, generate particular atmospheres in misty garden rooms. Our proposal seeks to extend this approach to the particular climate and atmosphere of the landscape of spaces at the water’s edge, bringing this peaceful and contemplative atmosphere across the River Liffey to a new civic entrance on the Chapelizod Road.
This civic space is bounded by two arcing mass concrete walls, framing and enclosing the inclined surface of the entrance up to the bridge. Each successive layer of compacted concrete is adjusted in tone through the use of 32 aggregates from across the Counties of Ireland, lending a geological quality to the surface of the walls. The 4.2m height of the wall also limits views until the bridge itself is reached.
The 75m spanning bridge is designed to have a minimum profile, with no supports; taking cues from the existing bridge across the wier, a visually slender profile is achieved using a post-tensioned stressed ribbon bridge. This allows for the bridge to be simply and quickly constructed in this sensitive landscape, without encroaching on the water. Concrete abutments are constructed on piled ground ties at either bank of the River Liffey, to allow approximately 2.7m rise in level above the existing banks at either end of the bridge. This extremely slender profile is a key aspect of this design, maintaining the minimal height requirements to the path and river, but exploiting the close proximity of the suspended deck structure to visitors below, whilst the river is brought closer to those passing across the gently curved surface – swelling at either end as it meets the landscape.
VIEW FROM WEIR LOOKING UPSTREAM TO THE WEST
DETAILED SECTION OF STRESSED RIBBON BRIDGE
AT THE TOP OF THE RAMP, AXIAL VIEW ACROSS THE RIBBON BRIDGE
VIEW FROM NORTH BANK AT BOAT CLUB, LOOKING ACROSS TO GARDENS
SITE PLAN AND SECTION
OVERVIEW OF RIBBON BRIDGE FROM NEW CIVIC ARRIVAL POINT
SOUTH BANK OF THE LIFFEY, LOOKING EAST TOWARDS THE RIBBON BRIDGE