Rafael Viñoly completes circular bridge in Uruguay

Architect Rafael Viñoly has completed work on a $10m circular bridge over a lagoon in his native Uruguay.

The bridge connects the cities of Maldonado and Rocha in the south of the country, and the decision to make the journey longer than it really needed to be was taken to force commuters to slow down and enjoy their surroundings.

Viñoly said: "The concept of the Puente Laguna Garzón was to transform a traditional vehicular crossing into an event that reduces the speed of the cars, to provide an opportunity to enjoy panoramic views of an amazing landscape and at the same time create a pedestrian place in the centre."

Environmental campaigners objected to the bridge as it was built on a Unesco World Heritage Site, however it had the support of 64% of residents in Maldona and 81% in Rocha.

Viñoly said: "I accepted to design the bridge on the condition that Route 10 – a federal highway that has been the main access to the beach resorts along the Uruguayan coast and one of the most destructive planning drivers of the territory – be downgraded to local jurisdiction in order to better control the development process."

It is estimated that 1,000 vehicles will use the bridge each day; pedestrians can cross on walkways located at the side of the structure.

The project took a year to complete.

Last year Viñoly’s "Walkie Talkie" was named the UK’s ugliest building.

The architect has recently designed what is due to be the world’s largest green roof, located in California.

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