In 2015 URBAN AGENCY, WilkinsonEyre and BuroHappold Engineering were selected from a shortlist of five competing multidisciplinary teams to design a new pedestrian and cycle bridge across Copenhagen’s Inner Harbour. The bridge's planned form was conceptualized as an elegant sweeping curve that creates an elegant and essential connection to the two misaligned axes of Vester Voldgade and Langebrogade. CEO of Realdania Byg, Peter Cederfeld, states: “The winning proposal combines a clear and compelling concept with a strong design team to provide Copenhagen with a new high-quality bridge that both the city and its residents can be proud of.”
The bridge was designed in response to the site's existing constraints; from the eastern quayside, the bridge's deck gently rises to clear the 5.4m high shipping channel, before descending back down to the quay on the opposite side. The two triangular steel edge balustrades gradually changes in form as the bridge crosses the water, bringing a dynamic element to an infrastructural element. The bridge's visual movement is further emphasized by the deck's wing-like edges which angle downwards along the quaysides to encourage views along the promenades, and twist skywards while traversing the water, maximizing clearance and emphasizing its structural integrity. Materialized in steel, the warping deck surface brings a play of light and shadow that appears to lightly float across the harbour, emphasizing the slenderness of the edge condition and in turn, minimizing the visual impact of the adjacent Langebro Bridge.
The overall appearance of the bridge is a compelling and graceful arc programmed as a visual device that not only draws users towards it, but also across it as – a new link to what lays beyond. The connection between the city and Christianshavn's ramparts that the Lille Langebro establishes brings a renewed attention to this important recreational space within reach of the centre of Copenhagen. The bridge's delicate sweeping curve offers no insight into the opening mechanism which across two sections pivot on their supports mid-span. The opening of the bridge thus creates a spectacle of the infrastructural experience for all around to enjoy while simultaneously offering a generous 35m wide shipping channel within the harbour.
The project was implemented by client, Realdania, with the city of Copenhagen. Realdania is gifting the bridge to the city to support the development and accessibility of Copenhagen's harbour. The full team is comprised of BuroHappold as project lead and engineer with architectural design by URBAN AGENCY and WilkinsonEyre. Additional support is provided by NIRAS A/S, Eadon Consulting and Speirs + Major.