The collective efforts during the assessment phase, the analysis and the survey carried out on the bridge were key to: providing comprehensive and well organised information on the geometric aspects and measurements of each element; identify the materials of each element, their structure and their different manufacturing processes (cut and surface treatments); revealing signs of previous or current degradation and instability; revealing the condition of the submerged parts of the bridge; revealing the condition of the ground it rests on, in terms of composition and archaeological value.
During this first phase, we tried to focus on two aspects: a risk and a hope. The most important thing is to avoid making a pre-selection. In architecture, as in science, research starts with observation. “As observers, whether dealing with historical of natural phenomena, we do not simply examine the materials at our disposal. Knowingly or not, a pre-selective process draws our attention to certain objects; we are always interested in what we allow ourselves to be interested in” (E. Panofsky). In this phase of our work, it is essential to be aware of this risk in order to make every possible effort to avoid it. To do so, it is important to overcome two tendencies that many fall foul of: impersonal knowledge and the hope of its comprehensiveness. The process to follow and its objective should be different.
The task is to “see things as they are”. “The means: to be able to see out of a hundred eyes, out of many persons. It was a wrong way to stress the impersonal and to label seeing out of the neighbour's eye as moral. To see many neighbours and out of many eyes and out of sheerly personal eyes is the right thing” (F. Nietzsche). The right path to follow is in-between these two extremes.Find out more