Photo Courtesy of OXO Architects

Calabria, Italy isn’t interested in bulking up its skyline any time soon. The region is looking to build down, not up, by re-purposing an abandoned bridge—and Paris-based OXO Architects answered the call with an innovative solution.

The firm won a competition sponsored by the regional government thanks to its creative design that rethinks the concrete viaduct, turning it into an inverted high rise. The mixed-use bridge development will house both residential and commercial units, as well as a school. It will also allow pedestrians to walk the top of the bridge, with a lane designated for local traffic.

The units will be built into the supporting legs of the bridge, but the team will have to construct new vertical columns to increase the load-carrying capacity of the structure. And residents will have to travel about 150 feet down to access their apartment.

The environmental aspect of the site is particularly appealing, though—due to its remote location, and its distance from an active volcano providing geothermal potential, OXO can create a local power plant for the community, while designating close to 85,000 square feet of green space throughout it.

Architects expect the project to be completed within a four-year time span. But due to Southern Italy’s economic depression preventing funding for the ambitious feat, the project’s start date remains unknown.