Puente de la Mujer
History and museums
Puente de la Mujer (Spanish for "Women's Bridge"), is a rotating footbridge for Dock 3 of the Puerto Madero commercial district of Buenos Aires, Argentina. It is of the Cantilever spar cable-stayed bridge type and is also a swing bridge, but somewhat unusual in its asymmetrical arrangement. It has a single mast with cables suspending a portion of the bridge which rotates 90 degrees in order to allow water traffic to pass. When it swings to allow watercraft passage, the far end comes to a resting point on a stabilizing pylon.
Designed by the Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava on a plan very similar to a 250-metre bridge over the Guadalquivir River in Seville, Spain (1992) and a 213-metre bridge over the Sacramento River in Redding, California (2004), it has a forward-, rather than a reverse-angled cantilever, as is seen in those bridges. Started in 1998, it was inaugurated on December 20, 2001, and is the only one of Calatrava's works in Latin America. The architect has described the design as a synthesis of the image of a couple dancing the tango.
The 170-metre pedestrian bridge weighs 800 tonnes, is 6.20 m wide and is divided into two fixed portions, 25 m and 32.50 m long respectively, and a middle section of 102.5 m that rotates on a white concrete pylon, allowing vessels to pass in less than two minutes. This central section is supported by a steel "needle" with a concrete core, about 34 m high. The "needle," inclined at a 39° angle, anchors suspension cables which support the central span. A computer system at the eastern end of the bridge operates the turning mechanism when required.
A number of streets in the Puerto Madero district have women's names, thus giving the bridge its name.
The work was conceived by businessman Alberto L. González, who donated money for its construction. Costing about $6 million, the bridge was manufactured by the Urssa steel fabrication conglomerate in the city of Vitoria-Gasteiz in the Basque Country of northern Spain.
According to business executive Bob Schmetterer, the bridge was not part of the original Puerto Madero project. Jorge Heymann, a Buenos Aires advertising executive, had been hired to develop an advertising campaign for Puerto Madero, but his analysis showed that the biggest challenge of the site was access, not public awareness. A landmark footbridge, Heymann suggested, while certainly more costly than an initial advertising campaign would have been, would be more practical and lasting. The developer agreed with the assessment, and he built the structure.