A mere flip of a coin - an Irish harp rotating through the air - inspired Santiago Calatrava’s sleek, asymmetric, signature bridge for Dublin. Coolly contemporary in style, yet conceptually traditional, the Samuel Beckett Bridge is in perfect tune with its edgy, historic Docklands surrounds.
The bridge, which opened on December 10th 2009, had long been planned for this area, once the very definition of urban abandonment. On a practical level, the bridge provides an important river crossing, joining Guild Street on the north bank to Sir John Rogerson’s Quay on the south, and facilitates a smoother, more rational flow of traffic within the city. Socially, it unites communities divided by the River Liffey, yet with much shared heritage. Commercially, the bridge is a dynamic branding of this vibrant quarter and of the city itself.
A moving bridge, it is a maritime gateway for Dublin, rotating horizontally through 90 degrees, crossing the river at right angles and with a span of 123 metres. It is also a statement bridge and was planned so from the start to fit in with the vision for the whole area - a symbol of change from the past and readiness for the future.
The bold design brings definition to the urbanscape - the shiny architecture of 21st century Dublin, the worn and warm buildings of yesteryear - the city is looking at itself. Yet, follow the curving pylon as it soars 48 metres above the river and the city opens to the heavens and to the sea. Here in the Docklands the destitution of man was, once, all too visible. Today, it is about that infinity of possibilities and the humankind vital to a city’s prosperity.
Dubliner Samuel Beckett was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature, 1969 -‘for his writing which - in new forms for the novel and drama - in the destitution of modern man acquires its elevation’.1
Man, city and bridge in harmony.