Pasarela del Arganzuela by Dominique Perrault

| 4 comments

Pasarela del Arganzuela by Dominique Perrault

Ribbons of mesh spiral around two conical bridges by French architect Dominique Perrault that cross a river and park in Madrid.

Pasarela del Arganzuela by Dominique Perrault

One part of the 278-metre-long footbridge crosses the Manzaranes River, whilst the second bridges the Arganzuela Park, beneath which the city ring road is buried.

Pasarela del Arganzuela by Dominique Perrault

The two steel-framed cones meet at the peak of a hill inside the park but are separated by a snaking footpath.

Pasarela del Arganzuela by Dominique Perrault

The footbridge connects two residential neighbourhoods and provides a route for both pedestrians and cyclists.

Pasarela del Arganzuela by Dominique Perrault

Lights hanging from the branches of tree-like lamp posts illuminate the bridge after dark.

Pasarela del Arganzuela by Dominique Perrault

Above: photograph is © Ayuntamiento de Madrid

The Pasarela del Arganzuela opened to the public in April, as did the park designed by landscape architects West 8 and other architects.

Pasarela del Arganzuela by Dominique Perrault

Above: photograph is by Gaelle Lauriot Prevost

Other pedestrian footbridges in Spain recently published on Dezeen include a looping bridge over a busy road and a bridge connected to an outdoor elevator - see all our stories about bridges here.

Pasarela del Arganzuela by Dominique Perrault

Above: photograph is © Ayuntamiento de Madrid

Photography is by Arteuno, apart from where otherwise stated.

Here are some more details from Perrault:


The Arganzuela footbridge, designed by Dominique Perrault in the very heart of Madrid.

Forming a major element in the new urban strategy for the city named “Madrid Rio”, the Arganzuela Footbridge, first civil engineering work by the architect, is already called “the jewel of the Rio” by the residents.

In the 1970’s, the M30 ring road, running along the both edges of the river Manzaranes, was an important boundary in the urban network of the city. In 2000, the City Council of Madrid launched a major project for the urban redevelopment of the Manzaranes banks: Madrid Rio.

To begin with, the city council hid the M30 highway, burying it 25 metres below the river the banks.

Pasarela del Arganzuela by Dominique Perrault

In 2005, the disappearance of the ring road allowed for an international urban planning competition for the redevelopment of the Manzaranes banks. This competition, won by the group of architects M-RIO, offered a new territory to the inhabitants:the Arganzuela Park. This future 23 hectare park, to be inaugurated in April, will become a substantial urban mesh of the city.

In parallel with its realisation, the city council appointed Dominique Perrault to construct a footbridge over the Manzaranes river, creating a link between the two banks.

Here, Dominique Perrault has created an original and technical architectural icon for this new territory.Over 250 meters long, the Arganzuela footbridge is located between the historic Toledo bridge and the Praga bridge which leads to the cultural centre of the capital. It links the Arganzuela and Carabanchel neighbourhoods.

Designed for pedestrians and cyclists, the footbridge consists of two metallic cones. It allows the passage of people from one side of the park to the other while also providing one of a the main entrances to the park below. The park, which hides some of the buried highway’s technical infrastructures, has an irregular topography. Playing with that topography, the two cones join above the curve of a hill, and are offset to create a new entrance point to the park.

Pasarela del Arganzuela by Dominique Perrault

The first cone – to the south – spans from the Avenida de Manzaranes, crosses over the river and then joins the top of the hill.

Placed offset to the first cone, the second cone – to the north–passes over the other side of the park to reach the Paseo de Yeserias. This positioning creates a platform over the park and the surrounding city, and an exceptional vantage point from which to admire the famous Toledo Bridge.

The footbridge is impressive in its dimensions. The south cone is 150 metres long and the north cone is 128 metres long,and their diameter varies from 5 to 12 metres from one end to the other.Each cone rests upon two pillars laid at each end, giving the impression that the footbridge is floating in the air.Made in steel, the self supporting main structure has two interlocking metal spirals that cross diagonally. A silver ribbon,made of metallic mesh, wraps this structure and protects the users from the sun and the bad weather. “Sewn” like a spiral,this ribbon creates a rhythmic and dynamic line to the Arganzuela Park.

The metallic mesh, favoured material of the architect, transforms and changes the footbridge depending on the time of the day: it alternates between filtering, reflective and opaque. Shaded during the day, the promenade becomes luminous at night, like a lantern. It’s impossible to capture all those visual possibilities in one single glimpse, as the metallic mesh turns the footbridge into a living object.

Pasarela del Arganzuela by Dominique Perrault

Above: photograph is by Gaelle Lauriot Prevost

Located in a strategic point of the city, the footbridge improves the urban connections between the northern and southern neighbourhoods of Madrid. By taking advantage of the site’s drawbacks, Dominique Perrault creates a new place for gathering,resting and admiring the city. For the city council, the Arganzuela footbridge is becoming an architectural event for the city and a powerful urban landmark.

Client: Madrid City Council, Madrid, Spain
Engineering: MC2 / Julio Martínez Calzón, Madrid (stucture); TYPSA, Madrid (mechanical engineering)
Stainless steel Escale mesh: GKD
Location: Parque de la Arganzuela, 28045, Madrid, Spain
Beginning of conceptual design for the urban competition for the redevelopment of the Manzaranes banks: 2005
Beginning of conceptual design for the footbridge: February 2008
Beginning of construction: February 2010
Length of the construction: 13 months

Pasarela del Arganzuela by Dominique Perrault

Above: photograph is by Gaelle Lauriot Prevost

Arganzuela park area 23 hectares
10 000 trees and 122 000 shrub planted

Arganzuela footbridge dimensions
south cone: 150 metres long
north cone: 128 metres long
diameter varies 5 à 12 metres from one end to the other

Total area of the decks 1 684 m²
south cone: 922 m²
north cone:762 m²

Tree species: ipe wood

Lampposts number 32
south cone: 17
north cone: 15

Luminary under the decks number 66
south cone: 35
north cone: 31

  • http://www.coroflot.com/hiraeffendi Hira Effendi

    I like the continuity of the spiral along the paths, but the best part is when the spiral/continuity breaks and forms unconnected relations between the two parts. Also the way the spirals are cut on an angle makes it more drammatic. Something simple but dynamic.

  • Fran

    Great urban job of West 8 and burgos y Garrido but that Spiral is out of context…the perception of the pedestrian there is horrible!!

  • http://www.dailygrail.com Red Pill Junkie

    I would have used the spiral theme for the benches and the street lamps, too. Awesome example of good public architecture anyway.

  • http://www.sca-larc.com Steven Chavez

    Very effective in creating a sense of movement.