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Opening bridge set for Copenhagen

London based Studio Bednarski and Flint & Neill are to work with New York based Hardesty & Hanover and Speirs and Major, on a new opening bridge in Copenhagen. The team was announced as winner of the high profile invited two stage competition.

The bridge’s opening span is 50m, and the total length 180m, the decks are 7m wide. The bridge is the key component of a scheme, which also involves three further small bridges over canals.

The winning bridge has the lowest profile combined with transparency. The opening part utilises a unique sliding mechanism. Besides its low profile and minimal obstruction to views along and across the harbour, the bridge’s main attraction is that people can stand on horizontal viewing platforms right at the edge of the navigation channel, even when the bridge is open. Thus it is possible to watch the movement action and be literally within an arm’s reach of the passing ships and boats - a unique experience on an opening bridge.

While the curved profile of the cantilevered moving sections was not intended as a figurative representation, the smooth under-bellies are reminiscent of boat undersides. These two sculptural objects can be treated in a variety of ways – they could be brightly coloured and bring light-hearted fun to the port, or be mirror polished, like Anish Kapoor’s sculptures, and reflect light off the water surface without causing any direct glare from the sun.

The bridge creates new urban spaces both at the quays and on the water. At the quays new urban landscaped spaces are framed by wide steps leading onto the bridge, where to sit and watch performers or the life go by. On the Nyhavn side there is a new urban waterfront piazza, framed by a new harbour park. On the Grønlandske Handels Plads the bridge lightly touches the ground and its access steps frame a new piazza in front of the proposed new North Atlantic Foundation Building.

In plan, the whole bridge is slightly sinuous. This maximises the length of the ramps, allowing them to be kept at 4%, and lessening their intrusion onto the harbour sides. It also adds interest to the composition and the experience of crossing the bridge. The plan curvature is constant but mirrored at the centre.

Cezary Bednarski says: “We have deliberately avoided high structural elements, which would interrupt views across and along the harbour, both when the bridge is closed and when it is open. Views of the new Opera House from Knippelsbro, for example, would not be disrupted by our design.” “This is our 10th bridge competition victory, and Ian Firth and I won all 5 bridge competitions that we jointly entered."

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