Posts by Sarah Robinson

Imagined Bridges: On Ivo Andrić’s The Bridge Over the Drina

What does medieval Bosnia have to do with a destroyed-and-rebuilt Italian bridge? An architect responds.

The word bridge comes from the words log and beam; the earliest bridges were trees that fell over and connected two opposing banks. The wood beams that make this bridge, the Ponte Coperto in Pavia, Italy, are exalted in the vault, their circumference larger than any neighboring tree. The columns that support this vast lid were exhumed from a mountain of granite, their chisel marks and eased edges the distilled labors of a multitude of hands. Up close, they are heavy, rutted, imperfect—but from a distance the columns stand delicately, twenty-four strong on each side of a thickened waist. The roofed colonnade is held by four arches that touch the river in three places below. The sense of solidity underfoot is echoed overhead, shelter and possibility both made new in the connection.