Dublin’s new Beckett Bridge, designed by Santiago Calatrava. Photograph: PA

Can there ever have been a more appropriate memorial to a writer than the new Samuel Beckett bridge that opened in Dublin on 10 December? The several thousand tons of steel deck and pylon were fabricated in a factory in Rotterdam, then carried across the sea by a barge labouring in the churning swell. A stately bridge carried over the turbulent water by a boat? Here’s a conceit so surreal it makes Waiting for Godot read like a cereal packet.

The designer was Santiago Calatrava, the Valencian architect who has made expressionist bridges and weirdly torqued structures a trademark. Never mind that Beckett made a virtue of muted understatement. The writer once said “Every word is like an unnecessary stain on silence and nothingness”. Calatrava does not think that way. He’s in the landmark business.


Stephen Bayley