Christchurch Pedestrian Bridge Disappears Into The Skyline

In addition to eating up green space, the density of urban architecture often clouds our view of the sky. In Christchurch, New Zealand, an area that’s still rebuilding after a 7.1-magnitude earthquake that struck in 2012, some architects are trying to create a more seamless blend of the built and natural world.

Resident and artist Mike Hewson recently designed a new art installation for an elevated pedestrian bridge that spans Colombo Street, Christchurch’s main artery. The walkway is out of commission, as it connects an occupied building with one that’s slated for demolition. Until the bridge is actually eliminated, Hewson’s camouflage allows it to blend into the sky, giving the illusion that there’s nothing there.

Hewson Camouflage Pedestrian Bridge

Image via Mike Hewson

It looks like a giant painted mural, but the camouflage applied to the defunct pedestrian bridge is actually a large-scale digital print applied using adhesive vinyl. Called Deconstruction 2013, the work is meant to provide relief from the unending gray and chaos of the scrambled city, silently reminding residents and visitors that clearer skies lie ahead.

“When standing at a particular vantage point on Colombo St the artwork visually deletes the walkway, while from other locations the viewer can distort their interpretation of the work as they move around the structure,” writes Hewson on his website.

“The work, Hewson tells Fast Co.Design, paradoxically reconstructs the site through a process of deconstruction. This urban procedure of addition through deletion is, in general, the manner by which Christchurch is being remade.”

Although Hewson’s work is meant to both be and highlight the temporary, one can’t help but wonder how much more relaxing it would be to live in cities where many buildings and structures use camouflage to reconnect us with obscured nature.

Beth Buczynski is a freelancer writer and editor currently living in the Rocky Mountain West. Her articles appear on Care2, Ecosalon and Inhabitat, just to name a few. So far, Beth has lived in or near three major U.S. mountain ranges, and is passionate about protecting the important ecosystems they represent. Follow Beth on Twitter as @ecosphericblog