In one of the most ambitious examples of speculative architecture of the year, Paris-based OFF Architecture recently unveiled an incredible eco-bridge spanning the Bering Strait from Russia to the United States that would facilitate international trade, protect wildlife, mitigate global warming, and promote peace. Every bit as beautiful and eco-conscious as it is quixotic, the project stole the show at the Bering Strait International Ideas Competition.
OFF Architecture‘s proposal for a structure spanning the Bering Strait includes the obligatory bridge and park, but also adds a self-contained ecosystem powered by geothermal technology and ocean current turbines. The design also features a stunning, Utopian village of tomorrow and speculates that the separation of the Arctic Ocean from the Pacific could stabilize salinity levels and the Arctic ice sheet, protecting the ice cap from melting thereby reducing global climate change.
Launched last February by the Foundation for Peace and Unification, the Bering Strait International Ideas Competition invited architects and students to submit plans for an international peace park linking the Diomede Islands and uniting the Eurasian and American continents through a “pertinent architectural symbol.” The Bering Strait Competition was intended to promote “…the elimination of all the barriers like spatial disconnection of national borders and chronological disconnection of today and tomorrow, and thus, stepping forward to peace and prosperity for all earth and mankind,” according to the jury. 135 projects (71 from professionals and 64 from students) were submitted to the international jury, but we particularly appreciated OFF Architecture’s holistic, green approach and ambitious thinking, which is what this kind of competition is about.
Feasibility aside, we think this vision of the future — one in which the human-industrial-political world protects and celebrates the natural world — is worth pursuing. There is no doubt that we are creating our generation’s legacy today, and ideas and projects like the OFF Bering Strait proposal are valuable ways of envisioning a sustainable tomorrow. Congratulations to the entire OFF Architecture Bering Strait proposal team: Manal Rachdi, Tanguy Vermet, Mathieu Michel, Takanao Todo, and Lily Nourmansouri. Keep up the great work!