Amsterdam Iconic Pedestrian Bridge Proposal / PLUSRchitecture - IoannisKarrasArchitectureStudio

Amsterdam Iconic Pedestrian Bridge Proposal / PLUSRchitecture - IoannisKarrasArchitectureStudio
river view / © Theodoros Giannopoulos

PLUSRchitecture – IoannisKarrasArchitectureStudio shared with us their proposal for the Amsterdam Iconic Pedestrian Bridge competition, put on by [AC-CA]. Their concept consists of one single architectural object which, through its morphological simplicity will create a new urban dialogue between man and urban environment. Through the reconsideration of the circular form which clearly symbolizes the unification of the two opposite banks, we suggest an additional urban promenade and a totally new urban recognition, in comparison to the typical straight passing-through connection. More images and architects’ description after the break.

From the analysis of the competition challenge, the intervention lot and therefore of the environmental context, in which the project came to be inserted, it was immediately clear that the iconic pedestrian bridge project solution needed to have a strong sense of unique identity. We are summoned to invent a new contemporary architectural icon for the city of Amsterdam. There is no need of design chatter. All we need is the reinvention of a simply form and its reformation to an iconic city symbol; an object with clarity and declared existence. Our fundamental intention was not to propose a fragmented complex consisting of just a passing-through connective surface and building areas.

west bank view / © Theodoros Giannopoulos

Seeking to compose a single volume, we extend the semicircular form in both edges so to embody the required service areas. The one linearly along the Hermitage museum bank and the opposite as an arc shape cantilever volume above the water. We do not just extrude a cylindrical tube, contrary we shape a dynamical object which height varies, reaching an unconventional interior and exterior result. We create neither a surface nor a building. We introduce a pure in-between space with the ability to redefine its own entity and recreate the existing site experience. The final architectural element does not take its form affected from the existing city-canal grid. Contrary to this obvious choice, it lies quite ironic in its locus. The pedestrians will be invited to recognize anew the infrastructural cityscape through the mediation of a sharply defined architectural object that frames a new urban experience based on the rawness and the strength of immediate urban topography.

footbridge interior / © Theodoros Giannopoulos

Space Divisions

bike repair station / © Theodoros Giannopoulos

Taking advantage of the curved path, we succeed to create a very smooth slope for both pedestrians and cyclists. And because of the extended bridging length, the inclination of the pavement is just 3.30 %, shaping a really calm and pleasant slipping motion. Beyond the footbridge area, the additional service areas are divided in two distinct sections: the one on the Hermitage museum bank, which in its 55 sqm houses the bicycle repair stations and the opposite one in which we set the administration, the facilities and the café spaces in a 165 sqm footprint. As a final result we create an environment which accomplishes an isolated urban micro-community, being simultaneously in absolute exposure to its surroundings. This totally new radical relationship promotes the consolidation of such a deliberated space experience.

Structural Details

cafe / © Theodoros Giannopoulos

The structural concept is clear and direct: The principle is the creation of a high-body twisted steel beam between the two banks, cantilevering towards the canal and resting on the two opposite sides. The main structure is consisted of H-shaped steel beams connected each other via triangulation, thus creating a self-standing branch on which we attach the additional necessary smaller T-shaped beams to support the floor and the ceiling. The whole steel framework is covered by prefabricated resin coating parts, so to achieve a more stable and aesthetically upgraded result. As integration, the whole structure is supplemented by setting the side transparent glass panels, with their hosting frames. The final result, achieves its complete presence with no additional external support need, because all the above mentioned parts are connected in a way to handle both compression and tension forces and the whole structure to be charged with shear and torsion forces behaving as an absolute stable monocoque.

Spatial Experience

aerial view

Inside the volume, the axial deviations of the mid-axis main structure, forms an elegant interior space with panoramic perceptual orientations and framed views in a total new topography. The interactive combination of light (natural or technical) and shadow becomes a primary idiom. As one moves through the spatial continuum, the height of the diagonal beams alternate, creating various moods within a single moment in time, during day on night. Moreover the lower joints create seating areas, from where the spectacular panoramic view of topography can be enjoyed in its entirety.

Materiality & Sustainability


Because of the character of the structure, the material needs reduced in the minimum possible level for such a construction. The energy needs, are solved by covering the entire roof surface with thin flexible solar panels, creating a self-sufficient organization. In addition, considering the quite hard climate conditions of the city, the enclosure structure creates a sustainable environment all year long. Even during sunny and warm days, in which the needs of cool air flow are higher, except the two direct big access openings, it is planned that some key spot perimeter glass frames can be vertically self-folded to support the natural ventilation.

Architects: PLUSRchitecture – IoannisKarrasArchitectureStudio Location: Amsterdam, Netherlands Team: Ioannis Karras, architect; Theodoros Giannopoulos, architectural visualization Footbridge Length: 137.5 m Footbridge Width: 5.5 m (useful width: 5.0 m) Footbridge Inclination: 3.30 % Clearance from Water Level: 3.0 m Total Structure Height (from banks level): 5.6 m Internal Height: varies from 3.0 m to 4.10 m Total Surface: 1100 sqm Services Area: 165 sqm Bicycle Repair Area: 55 sqm Bicycle Racks: 30

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Cite: Alison Furuto. "Amsterdam Iconic Pedestrian Bridge Proposal / PLUSRchitecture - IoannisKarrasArchitectureStudio" 27 Mar 2012. ArchDaily. Accessed . <> ISSN 0719-8884

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