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The 270-metre-long Tabiat Bridge connects 2 parks. More than a functional connection between points A and B, the footbridge is an adventure in itself. The architect more than succeeded in her task when she set out to create a leisure destination. Since its inauguration in 2014, this location has become a beloved gathering place for Tehran locals.
The Tabiat Bridge connects Taleghani Park and Abo-Atash Park. The curved construction consists of 3 different levels packed with benches, plants, cafés and restaurants. Situated up high, the bridge offers pedestrians sweeping views of the city and the snow-capped peaks of the Alborz mountains in the distance. The bridge has become an integral part of the 2 parks it connects. It makes perfect sense that ‘tabiat’ means ‘nature’ in Farsi.
Architect Leila Araghian conceived the bridge at the age of 26, when she was still a student. As a Tehran resident, she often crossed the many bridges around town. One day she encountered an abandoned leather sofa on the street. What would it be like to place that sofa on a nearby bridge? And that is exactly what she did. Soon she found herself seated on the bridge, watching the passers-by as water flowed beneath her feet. A pleasant experience. The innovative bridge that was born from this idea so many years ago has received numerous international architecture awards. The bridge has become an important Tehran landmark in just a short period of time.
The now famous design by Araghian was chosen as the winner of a local competition. Construction started soon afterwards, but faced many obstacles. The biggest hurdle was the international trade embargo that prohibited many countries from trading with Iran. It took a long time to receive the required construction software from Australia. This was absolutely essential for the project as the specifications of this complex steel construction had to be accurately calculated. The bridge is not only a feast for the eyes, but also encompasses a spectacular amount of materials. Over 2,000 tons of steels and 10,000 cubic metres of concrete were used. Construction took place at a great height, partially over a freeway, which required additional safety measures such as special platforms for the construction workers and temporary tunnels to prevent materials from falling onto passing traffic. It took 2 years to build the bridge. The festive inauguration took place in 2014. Since then, the Tabiat Bridge has been a daily magnet for Tehran locals. People come here to run, walk, bike or eat out. Just as the architect had planned, the bridge itself has become an attraction. Iran often compares this bridge to another iconic bridge in the country, the 400-year-old Siosepol Bridge in the city of Isfahan. For centuries this bridge has served as a meeting place for locals. We will have to wait and see if the Tabiat Bridge will become just as famous. But all the ingredients are there to make it happen.