A 24m-wide tree-topped pedestrian bridge with scenic views and public space for community gathering is the winning design of a competition aimed at adding value to the historical area of Zhujiajiao in China.
The winning design by MVRDV will be completed in 2019. Known as Dawn Bridge, the 80m-long dual bridge is an exercise in community placemaking. Described by the architects as “conceived as a landmark for fostering daily life and social activities”, it is hoped the bridge will add value to the town of Zhujiajiao and encourage community engagement at the water's edge.
Situated between the 16th Century Fansheng Bridge and the Quinpu Road Bridge, Dawn Bridge will sit nestled next to a new residential development, creating a relationship between the emerging new neighbourhood and the surrounding historical area. Wanting to blend the bridge into the landscape, the architects chose a contextual palette for the design that would reflect both the built and the natural environment around it while retaining a low profile so as not to overpower sightlines. The soft landscaping that is to grace the surface of the bridge also reflects the elements currently at play on the Fangsheng Bridge, creating harmony between the existing and the new infrastructure.
“The vertical alignment of Dawn Bridge defines a sense of lightness and elegance, and our aim was to provide a graceful low curve above the river that also blends with the landscape,” says Wenchian Shi, Partner at MVRDV.
“Beyond blending, we wanted to create a bridge that invites public life over and around it and that is accessible to all people whether on foot or on wheels.”
With amphitheatre-like seating and a tree-lined span, Dawn Bridge offers myriad opportunities for public gathering year-round. Pains have been taken in the bridge design to minimise noise and air pollution from the road by cladding and covering the middle truss, creating a flat deck that “morphs into a tridimensional structure” from which to view the stunning views of the Dianpu river.
Multi-layered landings offer pedestrians places to stop and observe while keeping traffic flow clear and supporting continuing activities along the river banks through greater accessibility. Spanning the river from bank to bank, the lack of piers in the design leaves the river bed free of obstacles, reducing the risk of flooding and leaving navigation of the river unimpeded.
Images © MVRDV