Restoration project of the Musmeci bridge

Sergio Musmeci (1926-1981) was an Italian engineer who focused his research on the form finding strategies through the study of the minimal surfaces. The bridge on the Basento river, also known as Musmeci Bridge, was designed from 1969 and built from 1971 to 1976. The bridge was built to connect the growing industrial area of the city of Potenza with its historical center. The design process was conducted with the aim of empiric models, using soap films and membranes. The resulting organic shape is a continuous concrete vault with 4 spans and a total length around 280 meters.

The bridge is currently in an advanced state of deterioration, making an urgent restoration project necessary.

Our proposal consist of three main interventions:

  1. Restoration of the concrete skin of the bridge, preserving and integrating the formwork pattern
  2. Improvement of the safety of the bridge with specific interventions to its structural components
  3. Improvement of the usability of the bridge form a urban, perceptive and cultural point of view

The idea to regenerate the concrete skin is to use 3D printed moulds, to be applied on the surface of the bridge, obtained by laser scanner technology. The moulds recreate the pattern of the formworks faithfully to the original configuration.

3D printed mould prototype (1:5) – PLA 3D Printing

Regarding the roadway, the lighting, drainage and protection systems are replaced. The barriers consist of steel uprights connected by tubular profiles with variable radius so that, looking at the bridge, they do not alter the perception of it.

The bridge is then marked by curved and slender lampposts. A metal profile protects the edges of the bridge along its entire length , and its shape visually lightens the bridge’s silhouette.

Day view of the project
Night view of the project

The project foresees the integration of the bridge within the park of the Basento river, in order to create a network that connects different points of historical and architectural interest.

A pedestrian pathway was designed along the bridge’s extrados, as Musmeci’s original design envisioned, made of a high-strength metal weave, imperceptible from a distance.

View from the extrados of the bridge

Finally, a museum dedicated to the bridge and Musmeci’s work has been designed. The museum consists of an inner shell with an elliptical base, made of exposed concrete, in which the exhibition hall is located, and an outer skin made of elliptical aluminium slats, supported by cylinders arranged along spiral paths.

Exterior of the Museo Musmeci
Interior of the Museo Musmeci
Inner shell of the Museo Musmeci – PLA 3D Printing
Outer shell of the Museo Musmeci – PLA 3D Printing

In addition, the relationship with the city has been strengthened, enhancing the path that connects the train station to the bridge. Strategic parking spaces and a terrace to observe the bridge in its entirety are planned.

CREDITS

Location : Potenza, Italy
Team : Pio Lorenzo Cocco, Arturo Tedeschi
Contributions by Alexandre Apruzzese