Floating bridge by RO&AD crosses
the moat of a Dutch fortress


This floating wooden bridge by Dutch studio RO&AD snakes across the surface of a moat surrounding an 18th-century fortress in the city of Bergen op Zoom (+ slideshow).

Dutch Floating Bridge by RO and AD architects_dezeen_1

RO&AD designed the floating bridge to provide pedestrian access and an emergency exit between the city and the Ravelijn op den Zoom fortress, which is located on a small island and is currently used to host private events.

Related story: Sunken Bridge by RO&AD

The architects developed a design for a new floating structure "to increase access without distracting from the historic appearance and layout."

Dutch Floating Bridge by RO and AD architects_dezeen_2

The fortress was built by military engineer Menno van Coehoorn and had at one stage only been accessible by boat. A raised wooden bridge was added in the 1930s, but is located on the opposite side of the moat.

Dutch Floating Bridge by RO&AD architects

The new 80-metre-long bridge follows the original route boats would have taken between a jetty on the edge of the moat and a raised entrance situated in one of the fortress's walls.

Dutch Floating Bridge by RO&AD architects

A gently bowed profile raises the walkway slightly above the water level as it meanders across the moat.

Dutch Floating Bridge by RO&AD architects

The slatted surface is made from a high-performance wood product called Accoya, which is treated to improve its ability to resist fungal decay, and the effect of swelling and shrinkage that could result from its proximity to water.

Dutch Floating Bridge by RO and AD architects_dezeen_3

"The bridge surface features a natural and beautiful appearance that complements the historic nature of the fortress," said the architects.

Dutch Floating Bridge by RO and AD architects_dezeen_5

A wooden deck erected at the entrance to the fortress is connected to the bridge by a short set of stairs.

Dutch Floating Bridge by RO&AD architects

Air-filled polyethylene pipes positioned underneath the timber surface help keep the bridge afloat, without requiring any additional structural framework.

Dutch Floating Bridge by RO and AD architects_dezeen_4

RO&AD previously designed a wooden bridge across the moat of a seventeenth century Dutch fort that descends below the level of the water to hide it from view.

  • Charlie Bing

    What I really like about this is the lack of railings. In so many jurisdictions, this bridge would never have been built.

  • Hugo

    It is great. Elegant and simple. Never allowed to be built in the UK unfortunately. Parts K, L and M – bleurgh.

    And why does Dezeen say “that could result from its proximity to water”? It’s in the water. No need for tarting this sentence up.

  • omnicrom

    Perhaps it could probably be gotten away with if it were deemed a jetty and weren’t the primary route of entrance or something similar? Perhaps not. The regulations aren’t all bad though, they exist for a reason and can be worked around if appropriate and necessary.

  • amsam

    It is gorgeous. Between the arched surface and lack of railings I do know people who wouldn’t be able to get on it. I wonder how stable it is? Is it really floating? Will it bob and ripple on windy days? Could be quite an adventure to get across. But bravo to the beauty of the thing.

  • Brennan Murray

    This is the bridge that should have been built at Mont Saint-Michel! I love the no railings aspect. The bridge feels a part of the natural environment.

  • lee

    Simply fantastic.

  • Alsess

    It might be almost invisible to a colour-blind man. So minimal. I like it.

  • Nick Simpson

    This is just simple and beautiful. Love it.

  • It doesn’t look very secure to walk on it. Hope it is safe enough.

  • Here, I’d like to see a few people walking on it. The path is defined by what I assume are sandpaper strips, and the edges wide enough to pass code in a number of jurisdictions… for decking, anyway. It’s lovely, we just need more human scale in an image or two.