Bicycling as a lifestyle trend is on the rise in our urban centres. COVID-19 has created new momentum for cycling and walking, and we need to continue supporting this movement. To encourage more people, we need to provide them with the infrastructure and safety they need navigating our cities. Lille Langebro by WilkinsonEyre is one such project, to maintain Copenhagen status as the world's best for cycling.
The existing Langebro road bridge has seen significant increase in the cycle traffic since 2008. Looking for a new bridge to improve connections in the city and provide safer access to around 10,500 cyclists and pedestrians combined daily, the city engaged a team which included WilkinsonEyre, URBAN AGENCY, BuroHappold, Eadon Consulting, NIRAS and Speirs + Major. The architects said, “The team was appointed in 2015 by Realdania By&Byg, with the contractors Mobilis Danmark, Hollandia Infra I/S and SH Group, joining the design team in 2016. Work began on site in 2017 and the bridge was ready to be used by Copenhagen’s residents and visitors by August 2019.”
At 160m long, the Lille Langebro bridge design is an elegant solution where, through its profile, it helps in extending the city towards the sweeping arc of the city’s historic rampart in the southeast. Towards the northeast, clear views of the city hall and clock tower help orient the cyclists. The bridge is also designed to be open up to provide access for marine traffic within the city river. It has been planned as a sculptural object in the city’s landscape that also helps revitalize surrounding spaces to increase public space in the city. The new crossing fits perfectly within its historic surroundings and encourages social interactions among its users.
The structure is designed as a curved wing which dips in and out while lightly touching the water. While maintaining a slender profile, the function of the bridge remains entirely concealed. The bridge motors and slewing rings are hidden within the hollow bridge piers and hydraulically operated mechanisms are housed in cavities inside the outer deck members.
The studio continues, “In order to maintain a slender profile in elevation, a moment connection joins the moving parts together at midspan. Enlarged chambers are provided adjacent to the moment connection to accommodate the hydraulic rams and associated mechanical parts. The innovative central moment connection was fundamental in achieving the structural depth demanded by the architectural concept of a sweeping, low-level structure.”
Sustainability was at the core of this project and it has been designed to deliver a 100-year design life, creating a resilient infrastructure in the city. LED lights are used along the length of the bridge, ensuring low level of operational carbon emissions and providing access at night. Another strategy to reduce energy usage was to use horizontal swing mechanism as compared to other mechanism that needs to overcome gravitational pulls.
Lille Langebro is a perfect example of public infrastructure planning which more cities should adopt to encourage a healthy lifestyle and long term sustainability. While serving as a sculptural object in the city, it provides safety and convenience to the people and is a reminder that planning people-friendly cities should be our first priority.
Project name: Lille Langebro
Completion Year: 2019
Gross Built Area: 1200 sqm
Project Location: Copenhagen, Denmark
Project Type: Bridge
Lead Architects: WilkinsonEyre
Design Team: WilkinsonEyre with Urban Agency
Clients: Realdania By&Byg
Mechanical Engineering: Eadon Consulting
Lighting Designer: Speirs + Major
Photo Credits: Rasmus Hjortshøj – COAST
WilkinsonEyre is one of the world's leading architectural practices with a portfolio of national and international award-winning projects. Since our inception in 1983, we have built a portfolio of bold, beautiful, intelligent architecture in sectors as diverse as culture, sport and leisure, education, infrastructure, residential, office and large-scale master planning. Project highlights include Guangzhou International Finance Center – one of the tallest buildings in the world, the giant, cooled conservatories for Singapore's Gardens by the Bay, the restoration of Sir Giles Gilbert Scott's Battersea Power Station, and the acclaimed temporary structure of the London 2012 Olympic Games Basketball Arena.
Current projects include the Compton and Edrich Stands at Lord's, a new Centre for Horticultural Science and Learning for RHS Garden Wisley and towers in London, Sydney and Toronto.