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First Branch Bridge

Nicholas Fabrikant

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  • Nicholas Fabrikant

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Project Description

Sometimes, a rose is just a rose and a bridge is just a bridge. But other times, a bridge can unite two disconnected halves – both in the physical sense of crossing a geological divide, and the ideological sense of funneling counteracting forces into a common point. And that’s just what architect Nicholas Fabrikant has done in the Vermont hamlet of Chelsea. This is the first stage of a project that you might refer to as a “digital-free retreat”, but Nick might go so far as to call it ”a spiritual awakening through objectively mathematical architecture.” He is afraid not of the pace of modern life, but that current generations don’t take the time to harmonize with themselves internally.

A rare moment of pause in the irrepressible pendulum of a hurried society, his bridge spans the first branch of the White River and might at first appear to be a bridge to nowhere, but don’t be fooled. It is, but nowhere is simultaneously anywhere and everywhere. It is his collision of styles, “classical, yet pioneering” that will reveal a rarified experience to its visitors. As you enter, the bridge unlocks the natural world that was once-upon-a-time available anywhere in New England, and upon exit, returns you to the world of everywhere. It is the microcosm at the convergence internal and external splendor.

The bridge itself illustrates the rock of time. Designed to a factor of safety of 5 (same as the Brooklyn bridge), it will likely outlast all of us. While built to support the weight of construction equipment accessing the site, Nick restricted the width so as to prohibit large vehicles that would cause damage to the setting. It’s part of the balance necessary to moderate the sprawl of misguided civilization. The bridge connects to a raw, isolated piece of unfettered land, still untouched by the menace of superfluous design.
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