The objective in designing the ‘Living Bridge’ was to describe a new type of nonlinear algorithmic architecture through the design of an inhabitable bridge in Tokyo. The chosen site integrates with the residential neighborhoods of Ginza and Tsukishima. Through the harnessing and intensification of the discrete flows of the two neighborhoods, and through algorithmic generation of turbulent spatial and programmatic structures, a reinvention of the inhabitable bridge type is achieved.
Creating Living Bridge was a three-step process. Using Processing, the designers identified the movement patterns of people and vehicles in the city, considered them as agent-based systems of entangled flows, and modeled their interactions as a vector field. Next, they released decking agents to read the vector field, moving through it and creating walking, cycling, and vehicular paths. Finally, the designers introduced self-organizing components that changed their shape and connectivity depending on the turbulence of the field. The components thereby simultaneously create, channel, and enclose the interactions of the circulation and programs inhabiting the bridge, leading to a dynamic space that connects and activates the riverfront.
The project is the culmination of nonlinear design research by Dave Eaton, Geoffrey Klein, and Michael Wetmore from the studio Complex Phenomena taught by Cecil Balmond and Roland Snooks at the University of Pennsylvania School of Design.