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Swedish Bridge Connects Pedestrians with the Water

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

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A new bridge in Kalix, Sweden, will both span the local Kalix River and act as a space for passing foot traffic to engage with the river below, while also providing protection for pedestrians against the elements.

The Swedish Traffic Administration commissioned Erik Andersson Architects to design an initial study for the span, which included the addition of gathering space and a public amenity for the town.

Kalix Bridge

Erik Andersson Architects’ solution was to design a bridge that would have separate routes for vehicles, pedestrians and cyclists, as well as creating viewing platforms and seating areas. According to the design firm, the idea was to take a simple river crossing into an experience and a warm atmosphere, while also allowing pedestrians to get close to the water.

KBClip 04_000 from Erik Andersson on Vimeo.

What allows for this level of engagement with the river are the bridge’s supporting arches, which extend like buttresses to slope down to the water, noted Arch Daily. The arches feature steps that pedestrians can use to connect with the river.

“We also wanted to make it possible for people to get near the water's 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,” said Andersson.

"The bridge is a hybrid of an amphitheatre and a bridge,” noted Andersson. “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.”

In the design, car and cycling lanes run on the same level, above the walkway for pedestrians. The passage for foot traffic uses the top level as a roof and faces south to capture the warmth of the sun.

The bridge is Andersson’s first project in Kalix.

”I’m hoping this bridge could become a new landmark project for the municipality and add to its unique character,” Andersson noted.

The existing bridge over the Kalix River will be replaced by Andersson’s new design in 2019.


Tagged categories: Bridges; Design; Design build; EU; Europe; Government; Infrastructure; Program/Project Management

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