Inner Harbour Bridge, Vester Volgade

Copenhagen

WilkinsonEyre with BuroHappold and Urban Agency has been selected from a shortlist of five competing multidisciplinary teams, to design an opening pedestrian and cycle bridge across Copenhagen’s Inner Harbour. The plan form of the bridge is an elegant sweeping curve that reconnects the two misaligned axes of Vester Voldgade and Langebrogade. The bridge has been designed as a simple response to the site constraints; from the eastern quayside, the deck rises up gently to clear the 5.4m high shipping channel, before descending back down to the quay on the opposite side. The form of the two triangular steel edge beams gradually changes as the bridge crosses the water.

At the quaysides, the wing-like boxes are angled downwards below the deck, thereby encouraging views up and down the quayside promenades. However, as the bridge traverses the water, the wings gradually twist skyward, thereby maximising the clearance below deck and providing a degree of enclosure and a perceived sense of security at mid-span. These gradually warping surfaces capitalise on the play of light and shadow on the steelwork and reinforce the slenderness of the edge condition. The varying cross section appears to float lightly above the water and minimises the visual impact on the adjacent Langebro Bridge.

The alignment of the bridge reconnects the city to the ramparts of Christianshavn and encourages the use of this important recreational space. The overall appearance of the bridge is a compelling and graceful arc which acts as a visual device that will not only encourage users towards it, but also draws them across it as they seek to discover what is beyond.

The continuously flowing lines of the bridge offer no clues as to how the bridge opens. Instead, the two opening spans create an element of surprise as they pivot on their supports and swing apart at mid-span. This opening motion will become a spectacle for viewers to enjoy and will result in a 35m wide shipping channel.