The Musmeci Bridge


Author: Annalisa Guerisoli
Photo: Roberto Conte

Bridges are usually non-places, designed for transit with no specific or distinctive features. They connect cities and towns, often dreams and hopes, they are necessary for fulfilling a utilitarian role and they always have the simplest of shapes.
This is not the case with the Ponte Musmeci or Musmeci Bridge in Basilicata built towards the end of the 1960s by Sergio Musmeci, an engineer passionate about astronomy, music and art. Enamoured of mathematics, he came up with the idea of expressing the subject through architectural forms and dreamed up a bridge, an extraordinary work connecting the city of Potenza and its industrial area.
The Musmeci Bridge is considered the first example of a Monument ofContemporary Architecture to be recognized for its significant “Cultural Heritage”on account of its unique style and original and bold shapes.

A work of engineering whose bold structure transforms its shape into an artistic expression, the bridge, 300 metres long and 16 metres wide has no pillars but is instead supported by curves andfluid forms created from a single 30 cm thick span and four contiguous arcs.
The result is a slender concrete structure that spans the river Basento, the railway area and a section of the city, a piece of work that looked at engineering as an opportunity for architectural expression and which more than forty years after its conception and construction is still today an example for study and research.