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Renzo Piano Offers Poignant New Bridge Design After Tragedy in Hometown Genoa

The Italian architect has offered to help rebuilding efforts, after the collapse of the Morandi bridge which killed 43

Morandi Bridge, Genoa, Italy, 20 August 2018. Courtesy: LightRocket via Getty Images; photograph: Stefano Guidi

Morandi Bridge, Genoa, Italy, 20 August 2018. Courtesy: LightRocket via Getty Images; photograph: Stefano Guidi

Morandi Bridge, Genoa, Italy, 20 August 2018. Courtesy: LightRocket via Getty Images; photograph: Stefano Guidi

Italian architect Renzo Piano has offered designs for a new bridge in the Italian city of Genoa, where he was born, following the collapse of the Morandi motorway bridge earlier this month. The tragedy on 14 August claimed the lives of 43 people.

Piano said he had not thought about anything else since the disaster. He told reporters: ‘My commitment is above all moral, to make sure that the new bridge has the traits of Genoa, of our qualities and a little of our parsimony.’ Regional governor Giovanni Toti commented: ‘We have gladly accepted the help, and he’s already made some proposals.’

Piano has said that the new bridge should be built ‘soon, but not in a rush’. He told Italian newspaper La Repubblica that ‘bridges do not collapse by accident, let nobody say that this was an accident,’ and that the city needed a beautiful new bridge that offered ‘rebirth and redemption’.

According to local reports, the 80-year-old – winner of 1998’s Pritzker Prize and the architect behind Paris’s Centre Pompidou and the Shard in London – has provided local authorities with sketches, which seem to place the road on pillars shaped like a ship’s prow, and include 43 posts resembling sails, representing each of the victims.

The collapse of the Morandi bridge crushed vehicles, a railway line and buildings beneath. The structure, which dates back to the 1960s, is thought to have been subject to extended decay for decades, with sea air damaging the steel rods which suspended the road.

It is the fifth bridge to collapse in the country over the last five years, and has triggered a politicized debate around the maintenance of Italy’s infrastructure. The Italian populist coalition government has promised to build a new bridge through the state-controlled Fincantieri, rather than the structure’s previous private managers, which it blames for the disaster.

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