The Importance of Character

Following the unveiling of the plans for the replacement to the Memorial Bridge in Portsmouth, I wanted to share some thoughts on the importance of character.  The Memorial Bridge is a beautiful and historic structure that bridges the communities of Kittery, ME and Portsmouth, NH.  The graceful structure has been an inspiration for countless artists – myself included.  As the community has the opportunity to give an opinion on the proposed redesigned bridge (streamlined and very straight), let’s remember how important it is to have some personality to our beloved structure.  Take a look at the George Washington Bridge – one of New York’s iconic pieces of architecture.  It is stoic and simple, yet beautiful.  If we get our bridge redesigned as proposed, albeit at a lower price and faster, we’ll be looking at the more basic alternative for the rest of our lifetimes.  I’ll be joining those who want to see some personality brought back to the bridge as it is rebuilt, something beautiful enough to get me out of bed to shoot a sunrise as it comes over the horizon.

(the rendering above is the proposed design for the replacement bridge)

3 thoughts on “The Importance of Character

  1. Thanks for the Portsmouth stoke in the last year, I have very much enjoyed the view through your eyes. As to the bridge I think a tunnel is the best case scenario but since that is not an option we have to go with a bridge. Maybe we should investigate a paint job that helps minimize the look of the bridge entirely then the wonderful contrasts between the industrial, working harbor and the natural beauty of the Piscataqua can stand out. Less is more in regards to the Memorial Bridge. The new design is nothing special I agree but no designer is going to further enhance the awesomeness of the Piscataqua or the tradition of the shipyard.

    1. Well said, thanks for sharing. The river and its neighbors are the true beauty on the waterfront. I’ll enjoy whatever the outcome is, but I am hopeful for something more attractive.

  2. While the bridge design departs dramatically from the embellished turn of the century bridge in place presently I find it refreshing that for once something being built in Portsmouth does not involve red brick. The unofficial architect of Portsmouth quoted in the article has made every building built of late look the same. We should look towards the future and not always rely on a formulaic model. Perhaps we should look at the river, the port and surroundng beauty instead of an overpriced toll into Maine.

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