Pont de Paille-Maille Competition Entry

Paris doesn’t need a new bridge.

The PA-MA is a game played across the Seine as a compliment to the bâtiments, activities and identities of the existing city. In lieu of a new structure, we propose a commensurate crossing that attaches to an existing bridge for both improved circulation and enhanced experience. Like everything built in Paris, the PA-MA lays evidence of its contemporary context into the historic city. By wrapping old boorish infrastructure with new genteel tissue, it expresses its culture’s durability and fragility; economy and élan; its love of passage and promenade. To play, one begins in the city and moves through a series of public spaces for private moments– a lovers kiss, a family picnic, late night drunken relief, a point of view– and back to the city. Here redundancy is infidelity.

The PA-MA consists of decks as pathways that fork and thread in and around the Pont Rouelle. The structure scissors underneath offering extensions, like cilia, that become handrails and physical linkages to the existing bridge. The beams angle to accommodate variable depth over their lengths and extend to support balconies. The ciliatic steel protects people, generates a finer texture to the structure itself, and provides a guide for vines. This foliage would not crawl along but rather hang down such that it would drape almost to the water dripping a curtain for passing boats. On top of the structure are a set of interdigitated wooden slats that create a detailed pattern pointing towards the direction you are moving and offering crease lines away from or to corners. The wire-mesh-components consist of braids and linkages, a form of architectural drapery, like webs floating in the air, “strong yet delicate in appearance.” This lattice network is variably structured and patterned with subdivision methods as an optimization of material and form.