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Studio Bednarski's delayed £10m Copenhagen Bridge finally opens

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Studio Bednarski’s long-awaited, sliding Inderhavnen Bridge has finally completed – three years late


The competition-winning 180m-long bridge (see AJ 05.11.09), which spans across the Inderhavnen Canal in Copenhagen, was due to complete in 2013 but a string of construction problems has resulted in huge delays.

The £10 million pedestrian and cycle bridge was held up by a number of issues including problems with the concrete and the opening mechanisms.

The original contractor on the project also went bankrupt and the scheme stalled until a new contractor was found, with work finally resuming in January 2014.

The bridge uses an innovative sliding mechanism, with its 8m-wide decks resting on sets of twin wheels which allow them to slide open. This movement means pedestrians can stand on viewing platforms at the edge of the canal while the bridge opens and closes.

Clad in steel, the outer face of the bridge is formed from a series of triangular facets which create smooth surfaces that create patterns when viewed from below.

Inderhavnen Bridge by Studio Bednarski

Inderhavnen Bridge by Studio Bednarski

Architect’s view

There is no other bridge quite like the Inner Harbour Bridge anywhere else in the world. The use of an innovative sliding mechanism allows pedestrians to stand on viewing platforms at the edges of the navigation channel during the opening and closing operation. The gently and silently sliding sections of the elegant subtly understated sliding bridge appear as if floating in the air, as they move in and out of spaces between concrete decks. This new structure has become both a meeting place and vital traffic route, reducing commuting time for thousands of pedestrians and cyclists in the Danish capital. 

It is the key component of a scheme, which creates a crucial link between the two parts of Copenhagen separated by the port, which also involves further small bridges over canals. It constitutes a very effective tool of urban acupuncture unblocking the flows of urban energy to a route where it always wanted to flow. The bridge creates new urban spaces both at the quays and on the water. At the quays, new landscaped spaces are framed by wide steps leading on to the bridge, where people can sit and watch performers or the life go by. 

The outer side faces of the steel spans are smooth conical surfaces, while the inner faces are complex warped surfaces. There the steel plate is formed from a series of triangular facets, producing flattering patterns when viewed from below. The width of the harbour was so much greater than the width of the navigation channel, and this provided just enough room for the steel spans to pull back out of the way when ships pass by. The steel spans were made by Vistal in Poland, delivered to Copenhagen by sea in August 2015 and installed by floating crane in just one night.

Inderhavnen Bridge by Studio Bednarski

Inderhavnen Bridge by Studio Bednarski

Project data

Location Copenhagen
Type of project infrastructure
Architect Studio Bednarski
Bridge engineer Flint & Neill
Bridge mechanical engineer Hardesty Hanover
Lighting designer Speirs and Major
Client and project manager Københavns Kommune
Funder The AP Moller Foundation
Main contractor Valmont SM (took over after bankruptcy of the first contractor E Pihl & Søn)
Steel subcontractor Vistal
Design competition won October 2009
First start on site date October 2011
Second start on site January 2014
Formal inauguration date August 2016
Total cost £10 million


  • 1 Comment

Readers' comments (1)

  • Good to see an elegant, innovative, interesting and above all useful footbridge - accessible to both cyclists as well as pedestrians, a real competition winner and mercifully baggage-free.

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