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Inauguration of Calatrava Bridge to be Focus of Jerusalem Anniversary

2008-06-24 00:34

JERUSALEM, June 24 /Xinhua-PRNewswire/ -- On June 25th, the city of Jerusalem will mark 40 years of reunification with a spectacular celebration and public inauguration of the Jerusalem Light Rail Train Bridge designed by Santiago Calatrava. The bridge will serve as a dramatic new entry point to the holy city, and will be the centerpiece of the city’s light rail system.

Calatrava designed a cable-stayed bridge that accommodates within a light and transparent structure two light-rail tracks, a pedestrian walkway and a public plaza below. Its single inclined pylon creates a clear visual direction towards the city. The cables are arranged in a parabolic shape which develops three-dimensionally in space, suggesting the shape of the harp of King David as a symbol of the holy city, inspiring city residents to call it the "Bridge of Strings."

"Bridges join places that were separated," stated Santiago Calatrava. "They are built for the sake of progress and for the average citizen. They even have a religious dimension. The word ‘religious’ comes from the Latin, meaning ‘creating a link.’ A bridge makes a lot of sense in a city like Jerusalem."

The inauguration will be hosted by the Municipality of Jerusalem and will take place on June 25th starting at 6:00 pm. The evening will feature images of the bridge’s construction and videos of Jerusalem projected on large outdoor screens, as well as music by the Jerusalem Symphonic Orchestra punctuated with synchronized fireworks, dancers, and children’s choirs. As the bridge is slowly illuminated, emerging from the darkness of evening, it will be heralded by trumpets, harps and choirs. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Jerusalem Mayor Uri Lupolianski will preside over the celebration.

Architect and engineer Santiago Calatrava has completed more than 29 bridges in 13 countries since opening his practice in 1981. Most recently three bridges in Reggio Emilia, Italy, were inaugurated in late 2007. The Quarto Ponte sul Canal Grande in Venice will be completed in late 2008. Additional bridges are in design and construction in Dallas, Texas; Dublin, Ireland; and Valencia, Spain.

Other notable projects by Mr. Calatrava include the City of Arts and Sciences in his home city of Valencia, Spain (begun in 1991 and ongoing); Lyon-Saint Exupery Airport Railway Station in France (completed 1994); Oriente Station in Lisbon, Portugal (1998); the Milwaukee Art Museum, Calatrava’s first project in the U.S. (2001); the Athens Olympic Sports Complex (2004); and Turning Torso Tower in Malmo, Sweden (2005). Buildings now in design and construction include the World Trade Center Transportation Hub in New York City; a new music center for the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra in Atlanta, Georgia; the Chicago Spire, which will be the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere; sports facilities and campus buildings for University of Maastricht, The Netherlands, and Roma II University in Tor Vergata, Italy; and the Liege Guillemins TGV Railway Station which will be completed later this year.

Source: Santiago Calatrava Inc.
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