River Crossing

For this project, I was interested in exploring the notion of river crossing. Places where rivers could be forded throughout history have become where settlements develop. Back then, convenience was not a norm — travelers would divert their course to get to a place in the river where crossing by foot was possible. I was thinking about the profound power of overcoming a natural body of water, a natural barrier through technology and innovation. 

In Peru, there used to be many handwoven Incan bridges made of straw, extending across the rivers. If you’ve seen pictures of them, you would know that they look completely unsteady. Crossing the river by means of a brittle, shaky straw bridge would be an experience; I would imagine the only thing one would think of is the water below. Elevated technology has allowed bridges stability and elevation from water, and the experience of river crossing is different — a passerby is unlikely to think twice when traversing a river. Pittsburgh is a city of bridges; we take bridges for granted because we can — but if you lose a bridge, everyone would be impacted by it. 

Life is mundane; humans often don’t pay attention to simple and complex beauty that exists everywhere. I am interested in creating a perceived gap in a bridge, as to remind commuters of the incredible innovation at hand, and the convenience and feelings of security that are so often disregarded. I printed out an image of the Allegheny river water and placed it on the ground of the bridge; pedestrians will walk over this, and be reminded of what lies underneath. 

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