Melkwegbridge by NEXT Architects and Rietveld Landscape

Melkwegbridge by NEXT Architects and Rietveld Landscape

This bridge in Purmerend, the Netherlands, has a steeply arching upper level for pedestrians and a zig-zagging lower level for cyclists and wheelchairs (+ slideshow).

Melkwegbridge by NEXT Architects and Rietveld Landscape

Above: photograph is by Jeroen Musch

Designed by Dutch studios NEXT Architects and Rietveld Landscape, the Melkwegbridge crosses the Noordhollandsch Kanaal to connect the historic city centre with the growing Weidevenne district in the south-west and is the first stage in a masterplan for the canal and its periphery.

Melkwegbridge by NEXT Architects and Rietveld Landscape

Above: photograph is by Jeroen Musch

"The aim of the design team was to create a new area with a specific identity, which could work as a connector between the old and the new centre," said NEXT Architects' Marijn Schenk.

Melkwegbridge by NEXT Architects and Rietveld Landscape

One bank is higher than the other so to achieve the gentle slope required for bicycles and wheelchairs, the team needed to create a 100-metre-long pathway. They decided to also create a shorter route for pedestrians that offers a high viewpoint.

Melkwegbridge by NEXT Architects and Rietveld Landscape

At 12 metres, this arch is high enough to allow boats to pass beneath and the lower deck splits into two parts that revolve open when boats are approaching.

Melkwegbridge by NEXT Architects and Rietveld Landscape

Above: photograph is by Jeroen Musch

LED lights line the edge of the crossing to highlight both routes after dark.

Melkwegbridge by NEXT Architects and Rietveld Landscape

NEXT Architects first presented their proposals for the bridge in 2010.

Melkwegbridge by NEXT Architects and Rietveld Landscape

Other unusual bridges we've featured include one held up by balloons and one that sits lower than the surface of the water.

Melkwegbridge by NEXT Architects and Rietveld Landscape

Above: photograph is by Jeroen Musch

See more stories about bridges »

Melkwegbridge by NEXT Architects and Rietveld Landscape

Above: photograph is by Jeroen Musch

Photography is by the NEXT Architects, apart from where otherwise stated.

Melkwegbridge by NEXT Architects and Rietveld Landscape

Here's some more information from NEXT architects:


Melkwegbridge completed

The new Melkweg Bridge in Purmerend (NL) is now completed. The connection between the historic city centre and new districts of the city has successfully been revived.

Melkwegbridge by NEXT Architects and Rietveld Landscape

Above: site plan with bridge closed - click above for larger image

The most striking part of the bridge, designed by NEXT architects, is a massive arch which reaches the height of 12m above water level and offers an incredible view over the city. The high lookout is an attraction in itself and lets pedestrians fully experience the relation between the new and historic center of Purmerend.

Melkwegbridge by NEXT Architects and Rietveld Landscape

Above: site plan with bridge open - click above for larger image

Bicycles and remainder traffic can cross the bridge using the 100m long bicycle deck makes a pendulum over the water so the slope can be limited to a minimum.

Melkwegbridge by NEXT Architects and Rietveld Landscape

Above: plan

Because pedestrian traffic was separated from cyclists, the direct line between the Melkweg and city centre could remain. Furthermore the 48m arch remains the fastest possible way to cross the water. The pedestrian bridge weighs 85 tons, consists of 130 steps and is supported by a steel arch.

Melkwegbridge by NEXT Architects and Rietveld Landscape

Above: section one - click above for larger image

The design makes it able to retain the spatial openness of the channel and its surroundings. Both bridge sections flow smoothly into each other and form one whole. This unity is enhanced by the continuity of materials and colours.

Melkwegbridge by NEXT Architects and Rietveld Landscape

Above: section two - click above for larger image

In the edges of the bridge LED lines are applied that follow the contour of the bridge and guarantees a spectacular view on the bridge even after sunset.

Melkwegbridge by NEXT Architects and Rietveld Landscape

Above: section three - click above for larger image

Project name: Melkwegbrug
Date: September 2006
Type / Program / Purpose: Bridge
Location: Purmerend, the Netherlands
Span: 66 metre
Cost / Value: Euro 6.000.000,00
Preliminary design: Sep 2007
Final design: Nov 2009
Start building: May 2011
Completion: Oct 2012
Client: Municipality of Purmerend

Melkwegbridge by NEXT Architects  and Rietveld Landscape

Above: section four - click above for larger image

Architect / designer: NEXT architects
Collaborator: Ronald Rietveld Landschaparchitectuur
Advisor construction: Ingenieurs Bureau Amsterdam (IBA), ABT adviesbureau voor Bouwtechniek