Genetically engineered...

Wednesday 25 Jul 2012

World's first double helix bridge at the opening of the Singapore River

The Helix Bridge is the pedestrian link across Singapore's Marina Bay connecting its established CBD to its new city centre. In connecting old with new, it was conceived by the Singapore Government as a key lasting symbol of the city and its values. Specifically, the plan forms an arc to embrace its corner of the bay and to resolve its meeting of shorelines which are perpendicular to each other. A further requirement was for it to be shade-canopied along its length to ameliorate the tropical sun.

Cox Architecture's solution of a double helix structure arose from the combination of the curved plan and the possibility of integrating structure, deck, canopy and lighting into a whole, the concept succeeding in an international design competition. Philosophically, the foundation of the design lays in the structure of the DNA molecule; its inherent strength yet delicacy of appearance from across and on the bay and along its journey.

The overall 15 metre diameter of the dual helix structure creates a continuous low profile bridge featuring triumphant arches and / or masts. The aim was to celebrate and engage human scale of experience rather than heroic gesture, together with the typology's ability to simultaneously create span, shelter and an undulating weaving of enclosure that accompanies the journey along the bridge.

The Helix Bridge is used by over 100,000 people per week both connecting to cultural and entertainment destinations on both sides, but evidently for the experience in its own right. It has rapidly become the symbol of a socially interactive city that its Government sought. Stainless steel integrated with continuous LED lighting creates an experience of refinement and drama from day to night.

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