Private Ivy League University Cornell sought to improve student safety by installing bridge safety nets to cut down on potential suicide attempts, which have plagued the area.

Challenge: 

Cornell’s Ithaca campus was quick to act when three suicides shook the university in 2010. A collaborative project between university architects and a Boston-based firm sought to improve student safety without cutting out Ithaca’s scenic views. The solution? Safety nets.

Influence: 

University architect, Gilbert Delgado and associate university architect, Andrew Magre worked with Boston-based NADAAA architects to develop the plans for bridge safety nets. The inspiration came from off-bridge netting along Swiss bridges that have reportedly almost stopped suicides from these bridges. Ithaca’s solution includes cameras and heat sensors installed at the bridges to ascertain if a person is caught in the nets.

Solution: 

Ithaca bridges’ horizontal netting is made of high-tensile strength Wire Mesh from Jakob’s Webnet series.

The Webnet Wire Mesh is designed without any joints and can be contracted or pulled open like an accordion. This made them ideal for comfortably supporting the weight of any loads: human or material that may fall off Ithaca Cornell’s bridges in the future. The safety nets, because of being placed horizontally are literally invisible from the line of sight of people passing on the bridge, and virtually invisible when anyone looks through them.

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