OFF Architecture / Bering Strait Project

A few weeks ago, we shared the Bering Strait Project which asked participants to create a massive spanning element connecting Russia to America. The design would physically join the world together and could potentially promote world unity and peace. Paris-based OFF Architecture‘s team of Manal Rachdi, Tanguy Vermet, Mathieu Michel, Takanao Todo, and Lily Nourmansouri was awarded second place in the professional category of the competition. Their project “does not simply concern itself with the construction of a commercial or railway link, nor a bridge connecting one continent to another. The amplitude, siting, geopolitical context as well as the global ecological conscience entails a proposal far more audacious, an active project sensitive to the conditions of the site.”

More about the proposal after the break.

Working in compression, the structure’s 10 meter wide parallel walls are held with bracing, which at times is habitable.  The enclosed space “becomes an interface for human passage and exchange, providing visitors and inhabitants the opportunity to traverse the Strait by foot, as was originally intended by primary civilizations.”  As the Strait’s relatively shallow water levels allow the proposed structure to descend to the bottom of the ocean, users can experience constant views of the entire marine landscape.

Perforations in the main structure allow the marine animals to move through the spaces while adjacent laboratories provide an excellent research space for scientists.  Other perforations in the structure act as marine current turbines, accelerating water movement and currents. Because the water level in the Strait is relatively shallow, flows tend to be faster, generating more energy.  The project includes large turbines to provide energy for the residential areas and laboratories; yet the turbines move at such a slow pace that no animals would be harmed.

Extending past the primary space, a series of 10 meter by 10 meter modular cubes, faced with a polished reflective metal, float above the water’s surface. “The subtle undulation of the modules solidifies once the ice freezes into a unified plane, displaying the instability, political and climactic, that exists in the zone.”

Residences, theaters and cultural centers are dispersed among the 400 meter high island.  Such hermitic structures create a new mode of living. Due to the innate thermal mass of the subterranean rock, the diverse program is attributed natural heating and cooling qualities.

All images courtesy of the studio. As seen on Bustler.

About this author
Cite: Karen Cilento. "OFF Architecture / Bering Strait Project" 10 Aug 2009. ArchDaily. Accessed . <> ISSN 0719-8884

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