Who doesn’t want to bounce through Paris? Who hasn’t wished they could just jump across a river? Who hasn’t yearned for bouncy castles for adults (or is that one just me?) One marketing savvy architectural firm, AZC, aggregated all those dreams with its proposal to build a trampoline across the Seine.
Let’s be clear here. It’s still 99.5% certain that nobody will ever build a trampoline bridge across a major waterway in one of the biggest cities in the world. But AZC, which stands for Atelier Zündel Cristea, really hit a nerve with its submission for an architectural competition, especially because the renderings bring new meaning to the phrase “Paris in the springtime.”
The atelier designed the bridge as its entry for a competition organized by Archtriumph, a website whose sole purpose is to organize competitions. Try to follow along here: Architectural competitions are one of the main ways in which younger or less recognized architects or architectural firms can get noticed. Many now-famous architects, including Zaha Hadid, Renzo Piano, and Jean Nouvel, got their big breaks by winning a design contest.
Usually, those are for buildings that are actually getting built. Many of the world’s most famous buildings were the result of design competitions, including the Sydney Opera House and the Pompidou Center in Paris. In some cases, projects that win a competition for a site do not actually end up being the building that is erected on a site. Or, at least not quite. Anyone remember the first plans for the Freedom Tower in New York City’s Ground Zero?
Archtriumph is trying to get some of the energy and creativity that goes into design competitions, without the hassle and expense of actually building anything. The hope is that some of the designs will get noticed and some new architectural talent will come to people’s attention. With the bouncy bridge across the Seine, the website seems to have achieved its aim.
For the record, the bouncy bridge only took third prize. Second prize went to the Artists Bridge, a footbridge with a bunch of boxlike studios for artists to work in jutting out from each side. And first prize went to Water at-traction (never give an architect naming rights to anything), a bridge-cum-amphitheater on which people could sit and watch the river rolling by.
Great idea, beautifully executed, but not likely to give its creators as much of a PR bounce.