10 years before starting construction on the Eiffel Tower in Paris,Gustave Eiffel built the Maria Pia Bridge in Porto, the second-largest city in Portugal.
Although the railway bridge, which dates back to 1877, has been defunct since 1991, it’s still the most recognisable structure in the historic city of 237,000.
Now the architects Pedro Bandeira and Pedro Nuno Ramalho want to scooch the famous Maria Pia Bridge just over three miles inland from its current location over the River Duoro.
Bandeira and Ramalho proposed the project when the Portuguese Council of Architects called for ideas earlier this year to help revitalize the Aurifícia area in central Porto, which is largely abandoned due to a swell of inhabitants moving to the suburbs, Bandeira wrote in an email to Business Insider. He wanted to make the city desirable again.
According to the architects’ plans, the absurdity of finding a wrought-iron bridge in the center of town would attract tourists. Bandeira told Business Insider that he wanted the project to “dignify this forgotten monument and most important, increase the self-esteem of Porto inhabitants, like me.”
It would have taken five months and less than 10 million euros ($13.8 million) to move the bridge, the British architecture magazine Dezeen reported.
The relocation of the bridge didn’t end up winning the revitalization competition, but Bandeira still thought the project did a good job of attracting attention to Porto.
“The major goal was to provoke debate and draw attention to the problems of the city,” Bandeira wrote. “To execute a project like ours [even after losing the competition], we would have to talk to and convince everyone not just around the Aurifícia block, but the whole city and I think we are starting that process right now.”
See how these Portuguese architects would have dismantled and reassembled a 1,158-foot wrought iron structure.
The bridge’s latticed girder structure would make it easy to dismantle. Bandeira illustrates the deconstruction in four steps.
Then, they would integrate the bridge into the city’s center as shown on this map. The bridge is the diagonal line cutting through a currently grassy area.
Here’s a close-up rendering of how Bandeira and Ramalho imagined the bridge would interact with the surrounding buildings.
And a final view of the imagined project: