Dezeen Magazine

Dezeen's A-Zdvent calendar: Nescio Bridge by Wilkinson Eyre Architects

The second addition to Dezeen's A-Zdvent calendar by London firm Wilkinson Eyre Architects is a curved suspension bridge in Amsterdam that forks at either end to separate pedestrians from cyclists.

Nescio Bridge by Wilkinson Eyre

The Nescio Bridge, known locally as Nesciobrug, spans the Amsterdam-Rhine canal to connect the city with the IJburg suburb, which is being built on reclaimed land over the IJ Lake.

Its curved deck follows a natural route for cyclists, but the forks at either end create separate access routes for pedestrians. Both follow a gentle slope to make for an easy climb.

Nescio Bridge by Wilkinson Eyre

Wilkinson Eyre Architects partnered with engineer Arup on the project, completing the bridge in 2006.

With an overall length of 780 metres, including a central span of 170 metres, it is the longest footbridge in the Netherlands. But is also one of very few suspension bridges in the country.

Nescio Bridge by Wilkinson Eyre

"With all the curvature in plan and the general fluency that would be required, it was decided it would look better if we could get a suspension bridge working where the cables themselves are curved, rather than the more conventional cable-stayed bridge," said Arup's project leader Angus Lowe.

"There are no other suspension bridges in Holland for the very good reason that the ground is very soft and therefore it is difficult to anchor the cables, so this is a special form of suspension bridge that is self anchored," he added.

Nescio Bridge by Wilkinson Eyre

The Nescio Bridge takes its title from the pen name of early 20th-century Dutch writer Jan Hendrik Frederik Grönloh, who used to walk on the former Diemerzeedijk clay dike where the bridge touches down. This area is now a public park.

A 10-metre clearance under the bridge allows boats to pass underneath. In section, the steel box-girder deck changes shape from a deep triangle to a shallow rectangle, creating stiffness where necessary.

Nescio Bridge by Wilkinson Eyre

Dampers prevent the structure from wobbling as people walk across, while the sides are angled so they don't interrupt radar used in commercial shipping.

In the spirit of an advent calendar, Dezeen is counting down the days until Christmas with an A to Z of iconic contemporary bridges. See all the bridges in our A-Zdvent calendar so far »

Photography is by Rob't Hart Fotografie, unless otherwise stated.