Opening up Copenhagen’s waterfront

Nick Myall
Friday 21 Aug 2015

A new opening bridge creates a crucial link between two parts of Copenhagen

A new Opening Pedestrian and Cyclist Bridge over Copenhagen inner harbour is nearing completion and will be open for public use later in 2015.

The project was won by Studio Bednarski (architects) and Flint & Neill (bridge engineers) in October 2009 in a high profile invited two stage competition to which 10 top bridge design teams were invited following a worldwide expression of interest.

The bridge’s opening span is 50m long, the total length is 180m and the decks are 8m wide. The bridge is the key component of a scheme, which creates a crucial link between the two parts of Copenhagen separated by the port, which also involves further small bridges over canals.

The opening part of the bridge utilises a unique sliding mechanism with the moving decks resting on sets of twin forged wheels, each 1.8 metre in diameter. Testing of the sliding action commenced in August 2015.

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 viewing platforms right at the edge of the navigation channel, even when the bridge is open. Thus it is possible to watch the bridge 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 form of the cantilevered moving sections was not intended as a figurative representation, the smooth under-bellies are reminiscent of boat undersides.

The bridge creates new urban spaces both at the quays and on the water. At the quays new landscaped spaces are framed by wide steps leading onto the bridge, where to sit and watch performers or the life go by.

In plan, the 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 from Studio 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, are not be disrupted by our bridge.”

Nick Myall

News Editor

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