Safe passage provided by Ravelijn Bridge

03 Sep 2014

RO&AD Architecten-designed floating bridge appears at 18th-century fortress island

This glorious little bridge is the work of architecture firm RO&AD with W2N Engineers and contractor Allflex. RO&AD was published on WAN back in 2012 when they first released details of the Moses Bridge in Fort de Roovere, a €250,000 scheme which saw a short bridge submerged in a moat so it was almost invisible when viewed from afar.

WAN is now delighted to publish details of an equally impressive bridge by the design studio, this time in Bergen op Zoom. For the Ravelijn Bridge, RO&AD took inspiration from the site location: a fortress island dating back to the begininning of the 18th century.

When the fortress was first constructed it was only accessible by boat, meaning that supplies and visitors had to be rowed to the main building across 80m of water. In 1930 a raised wooden bridge was added however the original entrance point still exists just above the waterline.

The design team were assembled to provide a secondary pedestrian bridge in order to create a connection to the city centre and also to enable swift escape in the event of an emergency. The venue is currently used for public and private events therefore the additional bridge is a necessity to ensure the safe passage of all users in an emergency situation.

Of their design, RO&AD explains: “In former days, the Ravelijn was supplied from the city with small rowing boats. The concept of the bridge is to let the bridge follow the original track of these boats, so the bridge echoes the former route the boats followed from the city to the fortress. That is why the bridge snakes across the water to the fortress. Therefore we also made the bridge floating.

“The deck of the bridge is convex to let the bridge blend in with the water and the surroundings. No mirror image in the water and as close to the water as possible. The stairs at the jetty near the fortress can move up and down (and stay horizontal) with the water level.”

Air-filled polyethylene pipes have been placed beneath the timber structure, ensuring that the bridge sits gracefully on the top of the water. The bridge has been constructed using Accoya which has been treated to resist fungal decay and the effect of swelling and shrinking. In winter, it is possible to move the bridge to one side so that visitors may skate around the fortress. 


Commissioner: City Council of Bergen op Zoom
Architect: RO&AD Architecten, Bergen op Zoom, Middelburg, The Netherlands
Design team: Ro Koster, Ad Kil, Martin van Overveld
Structural Engineer: W2N Engineers, Drachten, The Netherlands
Contractor: Allflex

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