Rhätische Bahn | Engadin, Switzerland 2019
This proposal for a sequence of mountian railway bridges in the Upper Engadin Valley seeks to establish for Samedan and Punt Muragl the same close affinity of railway, landscape, architecture and engineering that is embodied by the existing bridges of the famed Albula and Bernina Lines of the Rhaetian Railway.
Compact proportions and a bright and gently curving top edge are combined in the proposal with expressed diagonal stiffeners and neatly defined bridge ends to create an identifiable leitmotif that recurs five times across two sites. By minimising structural depth and maintaining a legible and simple silhouette each bridge maintains the existing unobtrusive character of the railway as it crosses the wide meadow landscape of the valley floor. When viewed at a close distance - whether from above at Punt Muragl or alongside and below at Samedan - the bridges reveal a different character, as carefully tailored interventions into the landscape that recall the high degree of craft and consideration for detail that is evident on the historic structures of the Rhaetian Railway.
The slender and identifiable form is adjusted for span and proximity to other structures, with the three longer bridges incorporating triangular apertures into the web, coordinated with the diagonal stiffeners to maximise visibility through the structure and reinforce the connection with the wider landscape. The apertures increase the sense of lightness for passengers and onlookers alike while the rising and falling of the curved top face of the beam edge, visible from the moving train, signals that each bridge is an individual crossing point over a river, road or pathway.