Hiriya on the bridge, competition proposal, park Ayalon

Our proposal offers a design solution to the question “how could the visitors of the park keep a continuous eye contact with the mountain and still be in a fully shaded comfortable space for activities?” we propose to lower the pedestrian level beneath the bridge in a way that the upper route, which is designed for bicycle riders, electric park vehicles and hikers will become a shading surface to the lower level. The upper route will be a clear path that keeps a constant view to the mountain and back. The bridge is a combination of two components: an economically engineered bridge which is designed in a direct line with a continuous minor incline (3.125%) and a landscape component that encourages an educational and ecological experience of nature in the urban landscape of Tel-Aviv metropolitan area.

At the lower “landscape” level, we laid an accessible designed lookout path, which is viewing the Ayalon River and looking towards the metropolitan lookout on top of the waste mountain.  On the side of this path there are 3 rooms that create an undulating space of going up the hills and down the crater. These topographic moves at this level creates separate rooms that allows group activities for school classes and organized tour groups without interfering the pedestrians who stroll along the meandering lookout path on the west.  These rooms are environmentally designed as see through and ventilated wood screen on the west side, which is built from re-used construction wood boards. The wood screen mainly acts as an effective shading device even on mornings, when the sun hits low from the east.

The two levels meet at an upper lookout porch on the east side of the bridge.  Here bicycle riders could make a stopover to drink from a cold water fountain and go down to rest while the visitors could go up and continue on the bridge towards the mountain. The upper route which is used for bicycle riders, park vehicles and active hikers, is a continuity of the typical trails of the park. The top layer of the bridge is designed with stabilized local soil mixed with ecological wood resins which is poured over the bridge structure. This route continues the trail from the parking lots to the top of the mountain and back.

The design of the bridge creates an iconic elevation. A kind of cocoon which is made from transparent wood screen that hangs on the linear bridge. This unique façade is viewed from route #4 from the east and to the bicycle riders who approach from Tel-Aviv. The visitors of the park, looking from the mountain top, experience the bridge as a modest linear element which merges with the typical park’s trails. Beneath the bridge trail, the lower landscape level is glimpsing and attracting the public’s curiosity to explore the nature of this urban landscape.

The bridge is becoming an infrastructure to encourage bio-diversity of the parks environment. The lower level will become a pleasant bird watching center, on the hanging porches at the west side and at the semi-enclosed rooms on the east through the vertical slats of the wood screen. Along the hanging foot path there will be signs that will explain about the birds, the reptiles and the other animals in the park. We propose stairs to go down to the water level, where further ecological exploration can occur.

Hiriya on the bridge will become a site specific attraction that will join the overall wonders of the Ariel Sharon Park to create an active natural experience.