Experience structure across sky and water
The design of an iconic footbridge over the Amstel canal could have only been a structural and aesthetic performance, assuming a particular relationship with the Hermitage museum of Amsterdam and overcoming the distance to cross.
However, a more sensitive sight of the context and the opportunity given by the program, lead us to consider the footbridge according to its potential to generate human fizziness or effervescence and not only like a utilitarian work as can be a bridge.
Taking advantage of its location: Between the Hermitage museum on the east bank, the Six Arts museum on the west and the quite animated Amstel avenue neibourghood in the north. This drove us to conclude by the necessity to design a spread out structure that collects and connects, while allowing public activities on its deck. This central square appeared to be obvious for our proposal.
Therefore, the project results from the articulation of three directions, allowing various routes from the three main urban areas to be connected. Going on up a concentric rampe a larger square appears around which articulate all the programs: the Snack Bar, the bicycle repair shop, as well as the facilities and the offices. There the happy pedestrian can enjoy a sunny cappuccino, hanging four meter above the Amstel Canal, while he gets his bicycle fixed in the shop nearby.
The structural proposal results directly from our programmatic interpretation and the site sensibility: The three directions are materialized by three steel frames that behave like 3 steel trusses. According to the “reciprocal structure model”, these trusses hold each other in their middle where they join, allowing the programs and the urban square to stand over the water with no middle pillar. By doing so the pedestrian bridge does not interfere with the fluvial navigation.
Then, pedestrians would experience the structural system itself for they walk inside the beams from one bank to another or enter the node that composes a hanging urban public square. The structural system is composed by three elements that are assembled as reciprocal elements Each of which can be prefabricated and brought on site by boat. Once in place, assembled by crain. Poetry and aesthetic are not excluded from this proposal indeed. The massive object dropped in front of the Hermitage museum in order to generate links and human effervescence also to experience a sensitive and lyrical promenade.
The structural trusses are wrapped up in a very thin metal cloth like skin that is massive or completely transparent depending on the light and the distance one is form the bridge. Seaming to be “opac” and in massive steal from outside and is very light and transparent skin for the one who is walking through inside it, sightseeing the city around. Reaching at the middle, where the three ways cross each other, comes the exclusive relationship to the water and the sky, that inspire serenity and thirst. Then, there is the Bar.