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Bridge Interlaces Design, Function

Monday, November 28, 2016

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China’s Dragon King Harbour River boasts an out-of-the-ordinary new steel bridge that does more than carry pedestrians from one riverbank to the other.

Known as the Lucky Knot Bridge, the red steel structure in the megacity of Changsha, the capital of central China’s Hunan province, is anything but a straightforward crossing.

Its design is based on the concept of the twisting surface of a Mobius strip as well as the Chinese art of knotting, which results in an undulating, multi-path structure that manages to combine tradition with modernity, according to architectural firm NEXT Architects.

Photos: Julien Lanoo via NEXT Architects

Next Architects says it based the design of the Lucky Knot Bridge in Changsha, China, on the principle of the Mobius strip and the Chinese folk art of knotting, in which the knot symbolizes luck and prosperity.

“The Lucky Knot is more than a bridge and a connection between two river banks. Its success lays in bringing cultures together, and in the fusion of history, technology, art, innovation, architecture and spectacle,” says NEXT architects Beijing partner Jiang Xiaofei.

Symbolic and Practical

The bridge was commissioned by the Changsha Meixi Lake Industrial Co. Ltd. as part of the city’s development of its New Lake District; the crossing was considered to be a key element in developing the area’s public space.

NEXT designed a bridge that would connect multiple levels of the structure at different heights to reach the riverbanks on each side, the road, the higher-placed park as well as the interconnections between them. Cutouts on the platforms offer points of access to the three interwoven paths of the bridge.

The final shape of the roughly 607-foot-long, 78-foot high bridge is the result of—literally and metaphorically—knotting all these routes together, NEXT says.

On the bridge

Cutouts in the red-painted steel structure allow pedestrians to access each of the three different paths that make up the crossing.

“The shape of the Lucky Knot was inspired by the principle of the Mobius ring, as well as by the Chinese knotting art,” says John van de Water, partner at NEXT architects Beijing.

“In the ancient decorative Chinese folk art, the knot symbolizes luck and prosperity,” he adds.

The decision to paint the bridge red hearkens to the art of knotting as well, as it is typically done with red rope, but the color is also said to symbolize good luck and happiness in Chinese culture.

The architect did not respond to a request for more information on the coatings used in the project.

Relationship with Surroundings

NEXT, which also designed the bat-friendly "Batbridge" in The Netherlands, prides itself on structures that “explicitly engage” with the local context, it says.

Wide view showing various touchpoints

The bridge was commissioned as part of the city’s development of its New Lake District; the crossing was designed to provide access to different points at different levels across the river, such as the river banks, roadways and a public park.

The firm, which has offices in Beijing and Amsterdam, says it combined the forces of the two cities’ teams to come up with the unique Lucky Knot design. It took advantage of the Dutch team’s expertise in infrastructure and water management and the Chinese team’s perseverance and knowledge of the local context to establish the final concept, it says.

“NEXT’s designs for both international and national clients distinguish themselves for their singular relationship with their surroundings, their enhancing of the experience of the specific location, and their added value to the site,” says Michel Schreinemachers, partner at NEXT architects Amsterdam.

“This is also the case in Changsha,” he adds. “The city is growing and changing rapidly. This context called for a unique gesture to inspire passers-by.”

In addition to the recreational, ecological and tourist activities the bridge was designed to serve, Inhabitat reported that the bridge offers a “spectacular view” of the Dragon King Harbour River, Meixi Lake, the city itself and the surrounding mountain range.

Additionally, it “illuminates and entertains,” according to NEXT. An LED lightshow that transforms the bridge into a public art space at night, which will boost the Lucky Knot’s appeal as “a landmark attraction in the light route that traces the path of the Dragon King Harbour River,” the firm says.

The bridge officially opened to the public in October.


Tagged categories: Architects; Asia Pacific; Bridges; Coating Materials; Color; Design; Infrastructure; North America; Steel

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