Renzo Piano has offered to donate his time to help design a replacement bridge for the structure that collapsed in his home town of Genoa earlier this month
The Italian architect showed initial designs for a replacement structure this week during a meeting with the regional governor of Liguria, Giovanni Toti.
Speaking in The Observer at the weekend, Piano said that he felt it was his mission to be involved after the tragedy that killed 43 people.
‘It must be a place where people can recognise the tragedy in some way, while also providing a great entrance to the city,’ he said. ‘All this must be done without any sign of rhetoric – that would be the worst trap.
‘But I think we will stay away [from that] and instead try to express real pride and values. That is what Genoa deserves.’
In a follow-up statement posted on Facebook, Piano played down his role in the rebuilding process.
‘Further to the tragic collapse of the Morandi bridge, the Genoese institutions asked me to contribute,’ he said.
‘I will be happy to participate, but it is clear that this is a collective work, and I do not intend to take anyone’s place – neither the engineers, nor the architects that will participate in the competition to work on the urban context.
‘It is the very beginning, but I am sure that, for the city, it will be a moment of great energy and an opportunity for reparation.’
In a statement, Toti said that he hoped that ‘the city can quickly get back an indispensable, safe and marvellous work, which really honours those who have lost their lives’.
Meanwhile, leading engineers have expressed concerns about bridge operator Autostrade’s plan to rebuild the collapsed Polcevera viaduct within just eight months.
It is understood that highways operator Autostrade has set aside €500 million (£450 million) to quickly rebuild the bridge, known locally as the Morandi bridge. But leading bridge experts have questioned the plan’s feasibility.
Speaking to the AJ’s sister title New Civil Engineer, Tony Gee & Partners group director Akram Malik and independent bridge consultant Simon Bourne agreed that £450 million would be a big enough budget to construct a new bridge with similar spans.
But both questioned how it could be built in such a short timeframe.
Malik said to build a new bridge would take at least 18 months on an extremely accelerated programme with no allowance for complications or logistical issues.
Jim O’Sullivan, head of Highways England, said that inspection procedures for road bridges in England would be reviewed as a precautionary measure.