Tabiat Pedestrian Bridge (Tabiat Means Nature in Farsi Language)

Diba Tensile Architecture

Location: Modarres Highway, Abbas Abad Lands,Tehran, Iran

Architects in charge: Leila Araghian

Design team: Alireza Behzadi, Sahar Yasaei

Detail design: Homa Soleimani, Mina Nikoukalam

Project collaborators: Atieh Ghafouri, Hoda Kameli, Msaoud Momeni, Elaheh Khajouyee, Farhad Elahi

Date of design: September 2009 – December 2010

Date of constrcution: October 2010- October 2014

Site area: 6 ha

Ground floor area: 3200 sqm

Built area: 7680 sqm

Length: 270 meter

Building type: Structure, Public Buildings

Structure engineering co: Maffeis Engineering spa

Mechanical engineer: Aram Shahriari

Electrical engineer: Mahmoud Abolhasani

Supervisors: Alireza Behzadi, Adel Mohammadi, Payam Golfeshan

Head of supervisors: Nader Naghi pour

Contractor: Shahid Rajaee Co.

Constrcution company: Azar Teif Sepahan Co.

Executive team: Alireza Jafarian-Akbar pourgholi-Amir Naeemi-Meisam Ale Ali- Arash Kamali

Executive manager (Civil): Hossein Saemi

Executive manager (Structure): Mojtaba Keshtkar

Photographers: Mohammad Hassan Ettefagh, Sina Ahmadi

Tehran is a car-oriented city full of highways, and highway means cars. In Tehran there are no pedestrian zones or open public spaces, except some parks here and there, on the sidewalks the motorbikes ride freely without fear of being fined. The human in this middle is forgotten and suppressed, and walkability and connectivity is at its minimum possible. This is when the importance of Tabiat Bridge becomes visible. A 270 meters long bridge connecting two public parks, spanning over a major highway, brings the forever enemy of Tehranis under the feet. The walk on the bridge is pleasant because the human is back to its correct position, the human who is respected and dominant. The feeling of freedom, dominance, safety and togetherness gives power to the people.

Tabiat Bridge is designed as a place to stay and not merely to pass, a notion contrary to what usually the bridges are created for. Even though the bridges are usually structural projects here the approach was more architectural. The bridge is designed in 2 continuous levels which becomes 3 levels on top of the columns. The space on the bridge is pleasant with benches, seating areas, and nooks and crannies to give people more chance to stay on it. All the levels are continuously connected to each other by ramps and stairs; this makes it possible for people on wheelchair to be able to experience the bridge in the exact same way as everyone else does, something that is missing in the streets of Tehran. There are different areas to stay on or different paths to choose, and since the bridge is designed on a curved path is no one point perspective, hence the views and perspectives are infinite and the spaces are discovered by the people, while they can freely move from one path to the other. In this way every visit to the bridge can become unique. Eventually it is acting as a public plaza.

The bridge is located somewhere in the middle of the society, even on the map of Tehran it is almost located between the regions where middle class and the rich collide, but it is free to access for everyone. It provides the possibility of mixing the different social classes of the society and conveys the message of unity and justice. In this way people would know that despite their financial inequality they have the same share from the city. It also has the message that all the citizens have the right to have good quality spaces in their city, a right which most of the people are not even aware of. Making such a space in the city can raise the bar of expectations from the city authorities.

The life of the bridge is very dependent to the “human presence”; it is the result of the synergy between itself and the people. The positive reaction of people to this project in a relatively short amount of time has built up the identity of it as a popular social public space in Tehran.