Commuting to work can be such a drag, whether you drive, take the subway, hop on a bus, or walk. But those who work in the Chinese town of Jishou are about to be delighted by a new addition that allows any passersby to take in some art while crossing the Wanrong River.
Atelier FCJZ, a Chinese firm, just finished up a bridge design that also doubles as an art gallery. The original plan, as outlined by the local government, was for a new art museum in the area, according to Dezeen. It was Atelier FCJZ that suggested they give the new structure two faces: one as a transportation hub across the river and another as an opportunity for people to engage with art in an unexpected place.
Alone, the bridge is surely worth a visit on its own, but it’s also an important element to the local urban planning development. The Wanrong River runs directly through Jishou, making the act of crossing it a necessary part of many local workers’ days. The bridge itself is designed to mimic the traditional covered footbridges of the region with a few modern touches like benches and small stepped pavilions specifically created for enjoying the surrounding views.
As you can imagine, it’s much more than you’d expect from a common bridge—both in theory and in design. The walkway itself is made of a few parts: an open steel truss at the very bottom of the building with slatted walls that bring natural light within the bridge and a concrete arch on top of the truss that houses a painting gallery. You can access the enclosed painting gallery via stairwells along the sides of the open-air walkway on the lower level.
Much like you would find local vendors selling snacks and other goods along traditional Fengyu Qiao bridges in Western Hunan’s Xiangxi region, there is a tearoom, shops, and restaurants located within either end of this new bridge. Here’s to hoping more city planners and architects follow suit; there’s nothing like a little bit of art to get you thinking more abstractly about the workday ahead.