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The Habitable Bridge 1993-2004

Part 1 Project 2014
Benjamin Norris
University of Sydney, Australia
This project is an exploration of what happens when apparently incompatible programs exist together as a bridge. In this instance an Urban farm and a Karaoke bar. The project will facilitate the restoration of the Old Mostar bridge in Bosnia. The Old Mostar bridge is a cultural icon but this project is not about permanent architecture. It is about the cycle of events that shape the built environment and the overlooked phases in between. The latter are relatively fleeting, but rich with potential uses by a recovering society.

The Old Mostar bridge, Kriva Cuprija (Sloping Bridge), is a heritage-listed site. It is an exemplary piece of Islamic architecture. The architect who designed it, Cejvan Kethoda, was commissioned to create a structure as never seen before under pain of death. He was uncertain of its success, as such, organizing his own funeral on the day that the final pieces of scaffolding were removed. It stood for over 400 years, until it was heavily bombed and collapsed in an act of cultural destruction during the Bosnian war. After the war ended the World Monument fund teamed with the World Bank to rebuild this significant cultural icon.

This project offers an alternative process of rebuilding during the period of 1993 – 2004.

This project challenges what a habitable bridge can or could be, in a place where the built environment is shaped and reshaped by events, and humanity dwells inbetween. This proposal posits that the reconstruction of the bridge created a temporary platform for rebuilding not just the bridge itself but also the neighbouring communities. The forms that emerged in scaffolding, centering and pedestrian walk ways created temporary walls, spaces and corridors. These forms created the backbone for the programs of an Urban farm and Karaoke bar.

Benjamin Norris


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