Kalix, a small town in Northern Sweden, has plans to replace its current bridge over the river in 2019. As part of the process, The Swedish Traffic Administration commissioned Erik Andersson Architects to design an initial study for a bridge that would not only replace the existing bridge's functions, but also add new elements to turn the new bridge into a gathering space and public amenity for the town.
The resulting design by Erik Andersson is a simple but ingenious solution which sees car and bicycle traffic occupying the bridge's top deck, while pedestrians are separated onto a path below, on the south side of the bridge. By dropping the pedestrian path, the road deck can act as a roof for the pedestrians in bad weather.
However, the design's signature move is in the bridge's supporting arches, which extend like buttresses to slope down to the river. Steps on these slopes allow pedestrians to walk right down to the water's edge, turning an entire side of the bridge into a public space connecting the town with the river itself.
"The idea behind the bridge is to turn a simple crossing of the river into an experience and create a warm atmosphere. 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 Erik Andersson. "The bridge is a hybrid of an amphitheater and a bridge. 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."
News via Erik Andersson Architects.