Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Of Bridges, Counterfiet Money, and International Relations

The Ponte Vecchio. Photo by Flickr user Stevehdc.

bridge has long been both a physical and symbolic construction of positive connectivity. The theory goes that a bridge connects two distinct areas by spanning some obstacle, be it physical or metaphysical. The bridge as structure stands particularly noble when connecting nations. It's materiality promoting development, commerce, and, at it's most basic, trust.

1000 AFRO Note by BIG.

1000 Euro Note by BIG.

BIG, The Bjarke Ingles Group, has designed a series of monetary notes consisting of a 1000 Euro Note and a new corresponding 1000 AFRO Note, in an effort to promote a "United African Currency". Both banknotes graphically portray a proposed bridge that would span from Africa to Europe via the Strait of Gibraltar. The bridge, massive in scale, would provide commercial development, residential property, and other public functions as well as the typical modes of transport.
According to BIG:
The bridge is conceived as an inhabited overpass uniting Euro-African typologies—such as Firenze’s Ponte Vecchio and Le Corbusier's Obus Plan for Algiers—into an intercontinental hybrid of city and infrastructure. The investment in concrete and steel doubles as load-bearing structure for living and working spaces for the many immigrants anticipated over the next decades, and will help establish the bridge itself as a bicontinental city in its own right.
The Strait of Gibraltar as seen from space. Photo via NASA.

The bridge is materialized space that attempts to connect two landmasses with physical infrastructure but also to stimulate economy and relations.
Because of this, it is ironic and somehow just, that real money would be the perfect medium to convey and promote such a project. The structure represents a real connection between Europe and Africa, which in turn, promises increased movement, commerce, and their effects. Both sides are guaranteed a double-edged sword, experiencing both the benefits and headaches of this improved connection. But in the end, new and ever-evolving economies and relationships could be forged by the bridge - an ambitious, yet honest physical structure.

Seen first on BLDG BLOG.