Sunken bridge across moat in the Netherlands wins Public Facilities Award
Historically, defence lines across the Netherlands have protected the region’s inhabitants from enemy attacks and surprise invasions. As time has passed and the threat of impromptu raids has dwindled, these significant monuments have been transformed into family attractions with cycling routes and hiking trails.
A modest €250,000 project by Dutch architecture firm RO&AD architecten on the West Brabant Water Line has closed the gap between the sites significant past uses and its new potential as a leisure facility. A sunken bridge has been inserted across a moat that surrounds the fortress at the West Brabant Water Line, dipping below the water line and seeming invisible when viewed from far away.
The so-called ‘Moses Bridge’ is constructed entirely from wood which has been waterproofed with EPDM foil. Spanning the moat with 50 sq m of watertight timber, the bridge has been a hit with visitors to the newly reopened fortress, captivating children and adults alike. Engineering on the project was carried out by Adviesbureau Luning.
RO&AD architecten explain that the bridge has been depressed into the moat to fit in line with tradition concepts of fortress design: “It is, of course, highly improper to build bridges across the moats of defence works, especially on the side of the fortress the enemy was expected to appear on. That’s why we designed an invisible bridge.
“When you get closer, the fortress opens up to you through a narrow trench. You can then walk up to its gates like Moses on the water.” The impressive landscape project was named the winner of Arch Daily’s Public Facilities Award 2012.