Part of a larger reconstruction effort by Infonavit following the 2017 earthquakes in Jojutla de Juárez, Morelos, OMA New York designed a new pedestrian bridge connecting the eastern zone and downtown Jojutla, which had suffered structural and environmental damage. The 4th anniversary of the earthquake will mark the beginning of development efforts for the project.
Running north-south and dividing Jojutla’s urban center, the Apatlaco River was among the most affected areas. The earthquake of September 19, 2017 revealed the brittle infrastructure of the city and its relationship to the Apatlaco river—houses built on edges of the river collapsed due to weakened structure; the major drainage line of the city running over the river suffered persistent fractures and its segments destroyed; open spaces, that would otherwise serve as open public parks and amenities, were left behind and taken overcome with landfill; and preexisting lack of access to cross the river was exacerbated by the destruction of a main bridge, severing mobility. The absence of intervention along the river edges leave the surrounding neighborhoods vulnerable to flooding.
In 2018, OMA New York designed a bridge to facilitate a much-needed link between currently disconnected communities, create a new commercial axis, and transform the riverbank into a rehabilitated zone of activities in an effort to transform the Apatlaco River into a community resources rather than a threat.
A linear bridge is bent into a shape—dodging 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.
Its 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 scale operate as undefined spaces, benches, stairs, and doors accommodate a diversity of activities, pace, and access. Windows open up the bridge to its surroundings and frame the landscape around it. Unobstructed, the upper deck provides opportunity to incorporate a linear park, plaza, and market to encourage a new commercial axis as a connector of disparate communities.
Shohei Shigematsu, OMA Partner, says “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.”
ABOUT OMA NEW YORK/SHOHEI SHIGEMATSU
Established in 2001, OMA New York is responsible for OMA’s operations in the Americas and has since overseen the successful completion of several buildings across the country, including Milstein Hall at Cornell University (2011); the Faena Forum, a multi- purpose cultural venue in Miami Beach (2016); the Pierre Lassonde Pavilion, an extension to the Quebec National Museum (2016); Manus x Machina: Fashion in the age of Technology, an exhibition for the Metropolitan Museum of Art (2016); an exhibition in collaboration with artist Taryn Simon at the Park Avenue Armory (2016); an exhibition design for Dior’s first US retrospective at the Denver Art Museum (2018); and the renovation of Sotheby’s Headquarters in New York (2018).
Shohei Shigematsu is a Partner at OMA and has led the firm’s diverse portfolio in the Americas for over the last decade. In addition to Jojutla Bridge, Sho’s urban and public space designs around the world include a post-Hurricane Sandy urban water strategy for New Jersey, the ReefLine underwater sculpture park of artificial coral reef along Miami Beach, an city-integrated mixed-use village for Facebook in Menlo Park, and a masterplan for a civic center in Bogota, Colombia. Sho has also successfully seen the completion of the Faena Forum in Miami, an extension to the National Art Museum of Quebec and the renovation of Sotheby’s Headquarters in New York. He is currently leading a number of cultural projects including the New Museum extension on Bowery in New York, and an extension and campus renovation for the Albright-Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo. Sho has also designed exhibitions for the Venice Architecture Biennale, Denver Art Museum, Dallas Museum of Art and the Park Avenue Armory and has collaborated with artists including Marina Abramovic, Cai Guo-Qiang, and Taryn Simon.
© Press release and images Courtesy of OMA New York