Paphos is one of the most important cultural and financial centres of Cyprus today, as well as a constantly evolving town. The rapid growth of Paphos’s urban fabric caused congestion problems at many of the town’s critical junctions during the last three years, which in turn lead to the degradation of pedestrian routes within the town. The proposal aims to upgrade the pedestrian circulation system of the town and therefore to provide a link for all the surrounding areas between them and at the same time to be considered as a landmark for the town.
The site belongs to an area with multifunctional uses such as residential, commercial, educational and cultural; hence most of the visitors are local residents, students and tourists. It is located between one of the main roads of the town with high traffic figures throughout the day, therefore the footbridge provides easy and direct access to the visitors from one side of the road to the other and simultaneously gives the opportunity to the users to experience the materials, multi-functionality and advanced design of both the bridge and its surrounding fields.
One major component for the design development is the fact that the footbridge’s role will not simply constitute an access medium for the visitor to cross from one point to the other but at the same time should be a part of an experiential space, including the two fields where it rests. In essence, it would be a continuation of the cultural, educational and communal environment of the surrounding land-uses. In addition, more parameters have been included within this process, including people’s isolation from the undesired noise of the passing vehicles, the environmental conditions of the country – and more specifically of the town itself, the consideration of providing easy access to all the potential users, the incorporation of viewing connections into the design and the adaptation of the footbridge’s function to the educational and cultural character of the wider area.
Continuity is one of the approaches of the design; the idea of a continuous surface made from a single material, which correlates harmonically with the floor material is dominant throughout the entire structure. Its form is as a purely minimalistic surface initiated from the ground and forming the railing on both sides, which in turn is transformed into local canopies along the length of the footbridge thus cladding the whole structure. This Architectural language is being used to regulate the amount of daylight concentrating on the bridge, to allow for a range of viewing connections to the visitor and the urban environment and at the same time to provide to the visitor the opportunity to feel, touch, stare and sense the entire structure and its materials.
The deck width changes along the bridge, in a configuration, which defines wider areas as concentration points, or areas of relaxation where the visitors can enjoy the view, interact with each other and collect information about the touristic and cultural spirit of the town. Accordingly, the narrower areas provide quicker and more regular flow of the crowd.
The bridge can be reached either by stairs for quick transit or by ramps on both sides of the road, thus allowing access to people with reduced mobility.
The structure consists of a series of longitudinal tubular elements, which are stiffened by a number of ‘C’ sections equally distributed along the overall span of the footbridge. Due to the curved plan layout of the bridge, torsional effects had to be carefully considered. Both longitudinal and transverse ‘C’ sections are made of corrosion resistant steel in order to increase resistance to atmospheric corrosion. Structural steel for the main spanning elements was chosen over reinforced concrete for its ease of fabrication and rapid erection on site, minimizing disruption to the highway beneath the footbridge. It is suggested that all elements can be welded and pre-assembled by sections offsite.
The structure of the main span is proposed to be cladded with Corian®. Using Corian® cladding panels would not only contribute to the achievement of the desired form due to the material’s highly adjustable properties, but also to pursue high quality details. Moreover, choosing white colour would contribute positively to the reflection of undesired solar radiation, especially during the summer period. It is a recyclable material with long life span, easy to be cleaned and with a very pleasant texture. All foundations, including piers, are made of reinforced concrete and cast onsite.