Twin bridges to reconnect Berlin

Competition: Designs for two pedestrian and cycle bridges across the Berlin-Spandau Ship Canal

July 16 2014

Designs created by AL_A in association with Teuffel Engineering Consultants, for an invited competition to provide connections to the EuropaCity development in Mitte, Berlin can now be revealed.

These twin bridges are the product of their contexts and function, efficiently spanning the Canal and weaving the opposite banks into a single urban tapestry. The streamlined bridges embrace the narrowness of the canalside, with approaches that ramp up from the embankment and travel parallel to the water, staying as close as possible to the canal.

An exceptionally simple solution, the bridges have an honesty that avoids stairs and makes visible each turn in direction to both users and passers-by, as well as minimising the unused space below. An understated presence in the landscape, the flow of pedestrian and cycle traffic is preserved.

The bridges are composed of two I-beams which form a structural balustrade, reducing weight and cost, as well as keeping the height of the deck low above the water and thus the length of the ramp.

Each I-beam has a different colour, perceptible along the loop and through the perforations: seen from the east, the bridge will appear one colour and from the west, it will appear annother. At night, lighting recessed into the handrail amplifies the two colours.

The array of perforations is determined by the shear forces and bending moment in the I-beams. The density of perforations increases as the shear forces decrease, and vice versa. This gives an intuitive reading of the ways in which the structure performs.