El orgullo cívico

San Giorgio Bridge in Genoa

Alberto Ballesteros 

Like the children of Oedipus, the San Giorgio Bridge is the fruit of tragedy. That of 14 August 2018, when the Morandi Bridge collapsed, killing 43 and leaving hundreds homeless. The destruction dramatically cut two neighborhoods apart and eliminated the main way to Italy’s major seaport. It also inflicted a wound on Italian society, distressed by what seemed like yet another effect of negligence.

So the reopening two years later was an injection of optimism in a nation badly hit by Covid-19, as well as a source of pride for Renzo Piano. For him, winning the bid to reconstruct the viaduct was not just the seed of a further milestone in his career. It also meant an opportunity to give his native city something far-reaching in its biggest hour of need. This, through a personal project now presented in the 11th volume of the series of monographs the architect’s foundation has been producing on his most beloved works.

The book recounts the vicissitudes of a demolition-design-execution process accelerated by the urgency of returning Genoa to normalcy. Sketches, plans, models, and photos taken during construction compose a narrative as detailed as Gay Talese’s chronicle of the building of New York’s Verrazzano Bridge, and like the American journalist, the editors laud “those whose fingerprints were left on the bolts,” the over 1,100 who took only Christmas Day off. With its slender piers and its gorgeous nautical forms, the project has created an infrastructure that aims to make the Genoese say “dov’era e com’era.” Or almost.

Reviewed books:

Il Ponte

Ponte Genova San Giorgio

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