ENSCHEDE (NL) - The two bridges designed by NEXT Architects not only connect two banks, but also cleverly reconcile opposing interests in the given situation.
From the perspective of the Glanerbeek ecozone, the most important thing was to guarantee the continuity of the ecological structure. That suggested a tall, narrow bridge with a long span. From the viewpoint of the new bus route, however, a bridge with a short span was structurally and financially preferable. Moreover, in terms of safety, the southern bridge, which will be used by pedestrians and cyclists as well as the bus, needed to be wide, with separate lanes for the different road users.
The eventual solution is multi-faceted. The structure on which the road deck rests is part of the ecological structure; the metal gabions that hold the large stones together also offer a sheltered corridor and refuge for animals. In the southern bridge, the dedicated user lanes were physically separated, resulting in a transparent construction that allows adequate light and air to penetrate to the stream below. Finally, the architects wanted the bridges to engage with the people who use them. At the highest point of the southern bridge, therefore, a seat was installed beneath an existing ash tree that grows through the road deck.