The open international idea competition for pedestrian bridge in the heart of Amsterdam prompted us to ask ourselves a question – how to combine in one building several elements that would result in designing a unique and outstanding bridge.
The name of the competition - Iconic Bridge made us seek ideas with a strong formal expression and unconventional functional and technical solutions. Organizers also defined number of functional requirements that had to be met – among others, the bridge had to ensure freedom of vessels movement on the river and make it possible to arrange café bar and bicycle repair area on the bridge.
How to combine then functional requirements and the value of use in the bridge that should become a memorable icon of Amsterdam?
The answer was obvious - that cannot be a simple bridge, although it should serve its original functions. This must be the object that interacts emotionally - it is surprising and raises clear associations with the Netherlands – it acts as its landmark.
As a result we designed an object that is a synthesis of all assumptions and requirements.
The “bridge" – a "bunch" of artificial tulips – the symbol of the capital, provides communication between the river banks and contains necessary functions. Rising to almost 60m height it provides a nice panorama of Amsterdam and stands out as a landmark which helps to orientate oneself in the city. The “bridge” not only exploits the values of the place, but it also serves its exploration - as the London Eye – it allows to admire the panorama of Amsterdam from inaccessible so far perspective - you can get a tulip with a view.
Cafe bar and bicycle repair area are located on a platform inside the tulip calyxes. Access to this platform is provided by two mobile cabins which rise along with carbon fiber “stems” from the ground to the level of the platform. The fibers form a network of cells which are constantly and separately filled with gas or liquid and then emptied - that allows the stem to follow the direction needed: from upright position to the totally lowered to the ground. Flower petal skin is made of semi-transparent stretchable resilient and durable polyurethane-coated fabric. Essential shapes are formed beneath the skin by dense and thin aluminium net structure. The entire "bunch" has the ability to perform small vertical movements giving the impression of waving with the wind.
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