Substructures

Substructures explores the architectural spaces created by the supports (abutments, piers, bents, etc.) of bridges. Known technically as substructures, these supporting elements are invisible from the deck of the bridge yet they root it to the ground and ensure that it is able to traverse an otherwise impassible landscape.

Primarily found in the arch, girder, and truss systems popular in the late nineteenth through the mid twentieth centuries, substructures create spaces that run below the deck like hidden passages or open tunnels. Highly engineered, yet not designed for public consumption, these locations reveal striking moments of dissonance and spatial juxtaposition. They are bounded by “ceilings” — the bridges’ deck — yet are often missing a floor so that their space extends downwards, into the surrounding landscape, rather upwards into the structure to which they belong. Disorientating and immersive, photographs of these spaces reframe the relationship of architecture to landscape.