Genoa bridge: Renzo Piano to lead new construction

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Image source, AFP
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Mayor of Genoa Marco Bucci displays a section plan of the new bridge.

Renowned Italian architect Renzo Piano has agreed to oversee the construction of a new Genoa bridge to replace one that collapsed and killed 43 people.

A section of the 51-year-old Morandi bridge fell down on 14 August, crushing vehicles and buildings underneath.

The new project will cost over €200m ($230m; £180m) and is expected to be completed in 12 months, officials said.

Mr Piano is best known for designing buildings such as London's Shard and the New York Times headquarters.

The 81-year-old had earlier volunteered to help design a replacement bridge, which he said would "last for 1,000 years".

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Image caption,
The Morandi bridge in Genoa was said to have been damaged by sea air

On Tuesday, Italian companies Salini Impregilo and Fincantieri, who were awarded the contract to rebuild the structure, said Mr Piano would be in charge of the project, which is said to be based on a design he had submitted for free.

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Image caption,
The cross section of the new bridge would have the shape of a boat
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Among Renzo Piano's designs is the Whitney Museum in New York

Mr Piano, who designed the Pompidou Centre in Paris with Richard Rogers and the Whitney Museum in New York, also designed the Ushibuka bridge which links three Japanese islands.

He was in Genoa on the day the Morandi bridge collapsed. It later emerged that the steel rods suspending the 1.2km motorway bridge had been slowly decaying over decades and were badly damaged by the sea air.

In an interview with Italy's La Repubblica newspaper shortly after the tragedy, the architect said that what was needed was a beautiful and safe bridge that would provide a "rebirth and redemption" for the affected area.

According to Italian reports, Mr Piano provided sketches to Genoa officials, showing the road sitting on pillars that each resembled the prow of a ship.

Also featured were 43 very tall posts illuminating the bridge at night in the shape of sails - one for each victim of the disaster, the Corriere website reported.

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