21st-century optimism?

Calvin Klein honors Calatrava’s Bridge of Strings with a T+L Design Award.

bridge of strings 311 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
bridge of strings 311
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Calvin Klein has picked architect and engineer Santiago Calatrava’s Bridge of Strings as the winner of the T+L Design Award for 2009 for Best Bridge.
The couturier, part of a six-person jury from the New York-based Travel + Leisure magazine, awarded 16 prizes for last year’s best in design and architecture.
The magazine, published by American Express, hailed the bridge: “Another bridge from Santiago Calatrava? Yes, but this one is noteworthy both as a symbol and as a technological feat. The light-rail bridge curves dramatically toward the Eastern Gate of the old city of Jerusalem, supported by a single 387-foot pylon and a parabolic arrangement of cables. Lit up at night, the landmark structure brings the optimism of 21st-century engineering to this ancient land.”
The honor of Jerusalem being ranked with some of the world’s cutting edge civil engineering and architecture projects made little impression on a sampling of locals.
English teacher Sara Esther Varnai called the bridge “a flight offancy. Does the [T+ L] award mean anything? Does the city get anythingout of it?” she wondered. “I’m really looking forward to all theconstruction being over with. It’s been a real hassle getting aroundtown. The buses are a nightmare, and walking is very difficult.”Filmmaker Avinoam Marcus was also ambivalent. “The cables are reallyawesome. But the column gives me the impression of an obelisk – likethose you find in Washington, Paris or Cairo. Are we going back toEgypt?”
Ian Norton, who runs an export business locateddowntown, was less negative about the controversial light-rail bridge.“I don’t mind it. As long as it’s over there,” he said of the locationjust west of the Central Bus Station.