Erik Andersson Architects reveal plans for public bridge/amphitheatre hybrid

The reimagination of bridges as vibrant cultural and meeting spaces, as well as pieces of infrastructure, continues to gain momentum, with Swedish studio Erik Andersson Architects unveiling a proposal for a dynamic gathering place across the Kalix River.

The Swedish Traffic Administration commissioned the practice to create a proposal to replace an existing bridge in Norrbotten County in 2019. More than a mere crossing, the architects decided to “introduce a new public space where people can enjoy the sun and get closer to the water.”

Their idea is a new twist on a typology that has seen innovative interpretations, such as Richard Meier’s recently-completed Cittadella Bridge in Italy; MVRDV’s recently-unveiled plans for the Dawn Bridge in Zhujiajiao, China; and the recently-scrapped Garden Bridge in London.

The Kalix Bridge will offer separate routes for vehicles, pedestrians and cyclists, as well as creating a shelter and tiered public spaces such as viewing platforms and seating areas that descend all the way to the water.

"The idea behind the bridge is to turn a simple crossing of the river into an experience and create a warm atmosphere,” said Erik Andersson. “We also wanted to make it possible for people to get near the water surface and enjoy the view, while at the same time giving protection from the weather which can get harsh in this part of the country.

"The bridge is a hybrid of an amphitheatre and a bridge. You can use it as you wish; sit down and watch the river and the view, pass under it by boat or simply cross it by foot or bicycle. I’m hoping this bridge could become a new landmark project for the municipality and add to its unique character."

In the design, car and cycle lanes running on top of the bridge are separated from pedestrians below. The walkway is placed under the driveway, using the top as a roof and facing south in order capture the warmth of the sun.

Andersson’s firm have previously designed bridges in Norrköping, Hammarby Sjöstad and Nynäshamn, and are currently working on one in Hagastaden, Stockholm.

Erik Andersson Architects  Sweden  bridges  MVRDV  Richard Meier  Kalix River 
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