UK infrastructure specialist Knight Architects, with local architect SAAHA, engineer Degree of Freedom and landscape designer Asplan Viak, have won an international contest for the design of a major new bridge in Drammen, Norway.
The design was selected by the City of Drammen in response to their requirements for a pedestrian and highway bridge crossing the Drammenselva, which will help transform the city into an attractive destination for visitors, businesses and residents.
New City Bridge is a direct response to the local constraints. With the electrified rail tracks on the south side requiring maximum headroom, and a street-level connection at the north shore, the bridge elevation confidently rises from the Bragernes Torg, crossing the river with a general vertical curve and slowly comes down on the Stromso side, where it naturally ties into the station square. This vertical alignment gives the bridge a unique, asymmetrical appearance, accentuated by a series of arches, each taller and longer in span than the previous one. Looking from the south, the descending set of arches introduces a sense of rhythm, reflecting the dynamic movement of a stone skimming across the water’s surface.
This culminates in an artificial peninsula in the shape of a stepped landscape, that acts as an urban ‘bookend’ for the bridge and accentuates the transition between bridge and shore line. Further along, the peninsula allows pedestrians to conveniently cross underneath the bridge replacing the existing underpass. The top of the peninsula will be largely south-orientated providing quality space for leisure activities.
The bridge parapet will feature a sinuous line of vertical steel louvres, providing a high level of transparency in elevation while feeling safe for the user looking along the bridge. The parapet will be topped with a wide wooden handrail providing sufficient space and safety for the user whilst enjoying views along the river. Bespoke furniture consisting of carefully arranged benches, lighting masts, wind protection barriers and flag posts will define the importance of the bridge to its users and radiate the character of an urban promenade. A palette of durable hardwoods, high-quality visual concrete and matte stainless steel will emphasise the quality of the urban space, turning it into a prominent destination as well as a crossing.
The city has also selected a footbridge design, also by Degree of Freedom, to complete a new network of cross-river connections.