OMA New York has designed a new 145-meter pedestrian bridge over the Apatlaco River in Jojutla de Juárez, Mexico, as part of a larger reconstruction effort by Infonavit (National Workers’ Housing Fund Institute) following the 2017 earthquakes.
After the 7.1 and 8.2-magnitude earthquakes, the houses built on edges of the Apatlaco river collapsed due to weakened structure; the major drainage line of the city running over the river suffered persistent fractures and its segments were destroyed; and open spaces, that would otherwise serve as open public parks and amenities, were neglected and taken over by landfill.
“We are beginning to face natural disasters more frequently and the wide-ranging impacts demand more public spaces and resources to be integrated into resiliency design. In the wake of Mexico’s recurring earthquakes, the Jojutla Bridge aims to restore infrastructure as well as the spirit of community. Its two datums simultaneously reconnect not two, but three, fractured neighborhoods, anticipate disasters beyond earthquakes by mitigating potential flooding, and provide new amenities to revitalize people’s relationship to a river that’s currently feared or overlooked.”
—Shohei Shigematsu, OMA Partner
The designed bridge "dodges private properties, crossing the river twice, and anchoring itself to three distinct points of the city: Panchimalco, a colony south of the municipal capital; the blocks at the bottom of Pacheco alley, in close proximity to the historic center; and the Juarez neighborhood, the most central but most damaged by the earthquake," as explained by the architects in the official release.
As explained by OMA New York, the pedestrian bridge form "is akin to a large I-beam, giving way to a double-decker concrete structure. Its upper deck simultaneously provides a higher datum in anticipation of water level rise and shade for the dedicated pedestrian and bicycle paths below. The “flanges” allow for a wide surface for occupiable spaces in addition to mobility. Along the entire length of the bridge, the I-beam’s “web” is perforated. Its habitable openings of various scales operate as undefined spaces, benches, stairs, and doors accommodate a diversity of activities, pace, and access."
Partner-in-Charge: Shohei Shigematsu
Project Architect: Shary Tawil
Team: Francisco Waltersdorfer, Vicky Daroca, Patricio Fernandez
Executive Architect: CCA/Bernardo Quinzaños