Why would you want to hang out on a bridge in Tehran? Well, because the whole thing does not even look remotely like a bridge. Tabiat bridge is the largest pedestrian bridge built so far in Iran. Located in north of Tehran, it connects two public parks by spanning over Shahid Modarres, one of the major highways of the city. ‘Tabiat’ means ‘Nature’ in Farsi.
The bridge is about 270 meters long and consists of a 3 dimensional truss with two continuous levels that sits on three tree shape columns. There are two platforms on top of the main columns forming the 3rd level viewpoints. All the levels are connected to each other by stairs and multiple ramps, providing multiple paths throughout the bridge to get from each level to another. Even though the bridges are usually considered as structural projects, here the approach is more architectural and fun.
Instead of connecting one point on one park to one point on the other, the design was to connect multiple points on one park to multiple points on the other. The bridge widens to 60 meters on its west entrance and forms a plaza on the same level of the park; this makes it difficult to recognise where the park ends and the bridge starts. There are multiple paths on both sides and both levels entrances that connect the bridge to other important points of both parks.
The bridge, designed by Leila Araghian as part of a local competition, at the time she was only 26 years old, is not only a path to pass but a place to stay.
There is a café-Gallery and a restaurant in the lower level of the bridge. There are many benches and other seating areas in all levels which make it possible for Iranians to stay on the bridge for as long as they want to, and enjoy the scenery which they cannot see from any other place.
To avoid a one point perspective which more commands for moving forward, this bridge by its curvilinear plan, changes in widths and the slight slope of the floors slows down the user, offers a sense of wander and constantly shifts views of users towards the parks, cityscape and the snow topped mountains North of Tehran.
Go there in the afternoon or early evening, roam the parks, grab some food and hang out on the bridge with hundredths of, mostly young, Iranians.