Everything is Architecture

[Image: An "unofficial illustration" of the idea by Huntington Ingalls, via gCaptain].

A Washington state legislator has channeled his inner Hans Hollein, proposing the radical adaptive urban reuse of discarded military equipment: turning old aircraft carriers into a new toll bridge for Seattle.

From gCaptain:
A Washington state lawmaker looking to ease traffic congestion for several Puget Sound-area communities near Seattle has proposed building an eye-catching new toll bridge made from retired Navy aircraft carriers.
It would involve at least two—although possibly many more—aircraft carriers laid "end to end" to cross a local stretch of water known as the Sinclair Inlet.

"This would definitely be a unique way to tackle some of those problems," the representative stated to the AP, "but at the same time it would serve as a floating memorial to veterans and the sacrifice they have given to our country."

[Image: "Aircraft Carrier City in Landscape, project, Exterior perspective," by Hans Hollein (1064); via MoMA].

Just think of the epic possibilities here for pedestrian paths, interstitial business opportunities, weird spaces for physical fitness, peripheral plazas and decks available for private events, and new public park space.

Perhaps even, deep in the labyrinth of the old ships' underbellies, you could open a restaurant, a bookstore, a cinema. A SCUBA academy. An architecture school.

It would be like a return to the inhabited bridges of an earlier age —

[Images: (top) Old London Bridge; (bottom) Old London Bridge painted by Peter Jackson.

—only gunmetal grey and prickly with artillery, like a surreal hybridization of Constant's New Babylon and the U.S. Navy.

[Images: Constant's New Babylon].

Of course, this isn't exactly a real plan—it's more of a casual remark by a state politician. No feasible studies, environmental reviews, or financial plans have yet been put in place, for example (although apparently one is in the works), and I personally doubt that such a thing could ever see the light of day.

But here's to weird architectural visions popping up in unexpected contexts—and to the future civilian reuse of discarded military equipment, even (or especially) in spectacular urban ways such as this.

(Spotted via Todd Lappin. Those images of Old London Bridge and Constant's New Babylon also appeared in an earlier post on BLDGBLOG called We'd all be living in dams).

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Anonymous Kurt Kohlstedt said...

Along similar lines, I confess I have been dismayed to watch them slowly take down the old section of the Bay Bridge, only to sell it for scrap - so many reuse possibilities right here in the San Francisco Bay Area (or at least they could let the people take it over. See also: William Gibson's Bridge Trilogy).

April 12, 2015 7:15 PM  

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