High-level walkway and cycle path Serpentine Bridge in Heidelberg turns a crossing into an experience
With the installation of the new high-level walkway and cycle path in the city of Heidelberg, Germany, the two districts Kirchheim and Rohrbach separated by railway lines so far, are merged even better for both pedestrians and cyclists.
The essential functional as well as geometric and architectural characteristic element of the handicapped-accessible bridge is to span the railway lines at a comparatively high level of about 6,5 m above the tracks. It is a main attribute of the presented design not just to reduce the required ramps to a technically minimal length and thus to guide pedestrians over the shortest distance but to provide a rolling overpass making the bridge and its passing an experience.
The bridge structure is built of a simple 350 mm thick reinforced concrete deck of white concrete with a reduced thickness of 200 mm at the edges to allow for a slim facing depth. Slender concrete columns oriented along the axis of the bridge are connecting to the bridge deck via smart mushroom-heads forming a monolithic designed unit. The illumination of the mushroom-head columns and the soffit of the bridge deck emphasises the sculptural quality of the high level walk way and cycle path and thus forms a unique bridge structure with a distinctive geometry that copes with the demand of an ageless modern and lasting architecture.
The chosen bridge structure allows for a high degree of economy for both under construction and operation. It is robust against vandalism and gracious in its appearance. Costs of maintenance to be expected range at a very low-priced level as high-maintenance steel is extensively disclaimed. By the use of precast-elements at track crossing areas constraints to the railway system can be minimized.
The project was a collaboration betweeen German firms Wh-P and Bez+Kock architekten