Puente de la Mujer
Dique 3, Puerto Madero
Santiago Calatrava 2001
Donated by Alberto L. Gonzales
and his family to this city of Buenos Aires, Santiago Calatrava's Puente
De La Mujer (Bridge Of The Woman) is the architect's only work in South
America. The 335-foot-long suspension pedestrian bridge is broken up into
three sections, two static and one mobile. The central portion of the
bridge was designed to rotate 90 degrees to allow water traffic to pass,
with the two static portions connecting to pedestrian streets on either
side of the dam. Most of the bridge's weight rests upon its central
support, in which motors are located allowing the bridge to rotate. The
bridge was primarily built in Victoria, Spain and taken to Buenos Aires in
parts over five months. In its design, Puente De La Mujer is somewhat
related to the Alamillo Bridge
in Seville in its radical asymmetry and expressive
tension, though its scale and angles are admittedly less grandiose and its
asymmetry is reversed from the Seville bridge.
Calatrava is said to have
requested examples of Argentina's typical music upon receiving this
commission. As a result, the bridge is abstractly meant to illustrate a
couple dancing Tango, the man towering over the woman who is leaning back
horizontally. This, along with the fact that the surrounding neighborhood
has streets primarily named after women accounts for the name of the
Porteños, as Buenos Aires
residents are called, have long seen value in architectural monumentality
and symbolism, as seen in their beloved obelisk, Casa Rosada,
and even La Bombonera. Added to that list was Puente De La Mujer, which
was seen as a symbol of a new era in Argentine history, and the new
millennium. These hopes, however, were largely dashed due to the current
disrepair that the bridge is in. Only three years after its inauguration
the bridge has been closed for some time due to missing screws and slats of
wood which make it unsafe for pedestrians. The city of Buenos Aires has never assumed
responsibility for the bridge's upkeep, choosing instead to have the
Gonzales family (who donated the
$6 million bridge) to maintain it.
The bridge is thus not operating, while its upkeep is sorted out.
In the meantime, the bridge gives Puerto Madero a beautiful modern
counterpoint to its brick industrial buildings which have recently been
rehabbed to house restaurants, shops and lofts.
How to visit
Puente de la Mujer is located in
Puerto Madero, only a few blocks directly behind (east of) the "Casa
Rosada", which is the President's palace. Take subway (Subte) Line C
to "Plaza De Mayo" stop, or Line B to the "LN Alem"
stop, and walk east towards the dams.
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