In the wake of the Ponte Morandi disaster, Renzo Piano offers to design new bridge for Genoa

Italian architect Renzo Piano, principal among our friends at Renzo Piano Building Workshop: RPBW Architects, has generously offered to design a replacement for the Ponte Morandi bridge in Genoa, which partially collapsed earlier this month killing 43 people, and resulting in the Italian government declaring a 12-month state of emergency in Genoa, and Italian prosecutors launching a criminal investigation into possible malpractice on the part of the bridge’s original contractors. Piano, who is a Genoese by birth, says it is too early to discuss the particulars of the design, but that it will stand as a memorial to victims of the tragedy, and will embody a “positive moment of unity and cooperation. One thing for sure is that it must be beautiful – not in the sense of cosmetics but in conveying a message of truth and pride. It must be a place where people can recognise the tragedy in some way, while also providing a great entrance to the city. All this must be done without any sign of rhetoric – that would be the worst trap. But I think we will stay away [from that] and instead try to express real pride and values. That is what Genoa deserves.” The bridge is an integral part of the A10, Italy’s main motorway, the collapsed bridge and its potential replacement being therefore a vital piece of infrastructure. Soon after learning of the disaster Piano offered his services to the Italian government. Since 2013, Renzo Piano has been a senator for life in the upper house of Italian parliament. In 2016 he lead reconstruction efforts after several towns in Central Italy were hit by a massive earthquake.