The 160m, double-swing bridge curves in plan to connect two areas of the Danish capital
WilkinsonEyre has completed the Lille Langebro cycle and pedestrian swing bridge for philanthropic association Realdania as part of its agenda to improve quality of life through the built environment. The bridge has now been handed over to the municipality of Copenhagen.
The commission was won by WilkinsonEyre in 2015 through a competition, in which the collaboration between the Stirling Prize-winning practice and BuroHappold with Urban Agency beat four other multidisciplinary teams.
The bridge has been designed to connect the vista down Vester Voldgade street from the City Hall to the harbour, with Christianshavn on the Langebrogade quayside across the water. It sits adjacent OMA’s BLOX building (also for Realdania) which accommodates the Danish Architecture Center, among other things.
The scheme’s design concept has made three key moves: the bridge follows a curve in plan which aligns with the moat and bank of historic Christianshavn; the bridge’s structure forms a triangular wing on either side of the deck which also forms a curve vertically by becoming higher at midspan and lower at the abutments; and finally, the structure’s profile allows for two swinging sections to open to allow boats to pass through.
At midspan, the bridge’s structure is higher than at both quaysides to allow for the required 5.4m clearance for boats. It is split into five spans with the main section 85m, and two 37m approaches either side. The two opening mechanisms have been concealed in the piers. This, along with the curved alignment of the structure, allows for an uninterrupted form.
The bridge’s cycle and pedestrian deck has a width of 7m subdivided into two lanes: 3m for the pedestrian route and 4m for the cycleway.
Aiming to reflect light from the water, the primary steelwork has been painted a uniform off-white colour, while the piers have been painted dark grey to blend into the water. The parapet has been made from brushed stainless steel, with a lightweight mesh infill. Lighting is concealed in the handrails.
We are delighted to have worked with Realdania to design a distinctive new bridge for the people of Copenhagen that will improve the urban spaces and promenades along the waterfront and strengthen the cycling culture in the city while also being safe and accessible to everyone.
Simon Roberts, associate director, WilkinsonEyre
This is a landmark project both for Copenhagen and for the wider bridges sector. By combining cutting-edge design with unique technical solutions it has been possible to minimise the structural depth of the bridge and really push the boundaries of design, affording pedestrians and cyclists views across the harbour. The opening and closing of the bridge acts as a spectacle in itself, bringing a sense of theatre and excitement to the area. We’re delighted to have been able to work closely with Realdania and WilkinsonEyre to make the vision a reality.
Simon Fryer, technical director, bridges, BuroHappold Engineering
Lille Langebro is beautifully designed and I am confident that new bridge will become an attractive connection between the city centre, the harbour and the historical Christianshavn district for thousands of cyclists and pedestrians every day. Along with the many activities in and around the neighbouring BLOX building and the new public spaces in the area, the bridge will bring life to a part of the harbour that has been deserted for decades.
Jesper Nygård, CEO, Realdania
Start on site March 2017
Completion July 2019
Gross internal floor area 1,162m²
Gross (internal + external) floor area 1,725m²
Form of contract or procurement route Design & Build
Construction cost £9 million
Construction cost per m² £5,217
Client Realdania By & Byg
Structural engineer BuroHappold Engineering
M&E consultant Eadon Consulting
QS BuroHappold Engineering
Geotechnical engineer NIRAS
Landscape architect Urban Agency
Project manager MOE
CDM coordinator NIRAS
Main contractor Hollandia Infra, Mobilis (joint venture)
CAD software used Rhino, Grasshopper, MicroStation