Neue Bahn Stadt Opladen GmbH
2009 - 2016
Knight Architects, Knippers Helbig, Schüssler Plan
Footbridge Awards 2014 (Highly Commended)
Dynamic design in a harsh environment
Knight Architects and Knippers Helbig won the 2009 international competition for the design of two cycle and pedestrian bridges in Opladen. A common language was developed for the bridges which stand 400m apart. The bridges were required as part of a major reorganisation of rail infrastructure, including the release of a large area of former rail engineering into a new quarter (Neue Bahn Stadt Opladen) and the phased realignment of freight lines to improve rail services.
Station Bridge (Bahnhofsbrücke) forms a new accessible entrance to the railway platforms, replacing an aged tunnel, linking the town centre of Opladen with the new development. Bridge users interact at different speeds, crossing by bicycle or accessing the station on foot. The bridge has wider areas for meeting points and highly-visible shared routes. Campus Bridge (Campusbrücke) provides a second connection to the development. The last span was installed the “wrong way round”, to observe clearance above railway lines which were not due to come out of service until 2019. The span was then rotated 180 degrees to its permanent vertical alignment, a design innovation by Knight Architects which saved considerable costs.
Both bridges were designed as multi-span through-structures. The superstructure consists of two Z-section weathering steel main beams, connected by cross members to form a trough cross section. The wave-form of the bridge is echoed in the timber-clad lamellae, creating a distinctive and playful form.
“The Station Bridge and the Campus Bridge are the two hinges interlinking the east and the west of the Bahnstadt. The two bridges not only handle cycle and pedestrian traffic between Opladen and the new district. Their extraordinary appearance has meanwhile become inscribed in the public consciousness. They cross the tracks as a pair of distinct objects that unfold sculptural qualities.”