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‘Mobius Strip’ Footbridge Wins Design Competition
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Night rendering of the 'Mobius Strip' Footbridge
The bridge will be built within the Meixi Lake development that is currently under way in Changsha, China. The inspiration for the bridge, which also resembles a good-luck charm known as a Chinese knot, evolved from a requirement that the bridge provide access at several levels. NEXT architects

In China, a pedestrian bridge designed in the shape of a Mobius strip by NEXT architects, based in Amsterdam, has won an international design competition.

December 10, 2013—A collaborative design created by the Amsterdam and Beijing offices of NEXT architects has won an international design competition for a new pedestrian bridge in the Meixi Lake development that is under way near Changsha, China. Designed as a Mobius strip, with no beginning or end, the undulating red steel bridge will provide an iconic crossing for the region.

The inspiration for the bridge came from the requirement that the bridge provide several crossings on different levels over the river, according to Michel Schreinemachers, a principal of NEXT architects and one of the bridge’s concept designers, along with John van de Water, a partner in the firm’s Beijing office. The requirement “implied that we had to make several arches, which inspired us to make something which is more [and] weaves these different arches within each other,” Schreinemachers says.

The paths contained in the 150 m long, 10 m wide, and 24 m tall bridge will offer crossings from multiple points on one side of the river to multiple points on the other. There are several purposes to the bridge, Schreinemachers says. One is to facilitate recreation along one side of the bridge, along a route called Light Street, which will feature several points of interest and light shows. The lighting will be extended to the bridge, he adds.

The bridge will connect the route to another along the opposite shore, providing a link from the riverside walkway and a higher-elevation park on one side to a sports park and a ring road on the other. Stairs will make the steep inclines of the arches that cross the waterway manageable for pedestrians and bicyclists, who will carry their bikes over the hill.

“It’s a main element in Light Street,” Schreinemachers says. “So to connect all these different levels and make it an icon was the biggest challenge, without making it one big spaghetti.” The simplicity of the bridge’s undulating shape provided a straightforward solution to the complex routes that the client, Changsha Meixi Lake Industrial Company, Ltd., required, and did so in a “spectacular” fashion, Schreinemachers notes.

Aerial view rendering of the 'Mobius Strip' Footbridge

A pedestrian bridge inspired by a Mobius strip will provide a link
from the riverside walkway and a higher-elevation park on one side
of the river to a sports park and a ring road on the other. Stairs will
make the steep inclines of the arches that cross the waterway
manageable for pedestrians and bicyclists. NEXT architects

“With the bridge on this scale, it’s normally hard to make it really an object, [or] an icon,” he says. But the shape now is “recognizable for everybody,” he says. “And I think the greatest thing for us also in the design is that we refer to the Mobius ring as an inspiration—it’s this continuous shape—but that the reference for the client was more the Chinese knot: you can call it the ‘lucky knot’.” 

Such knots are used as lucky charms, and believed to bring their owners’ good fortune and luck, he explains. Having a design interpreted by a client in a totally different manner that was intended “is always very surprising when you do presentations,” Schreinemachers says. “[But] I think this design shows that it still can work in both ways.”

The design team is in the process of selecting the engineers to complete the structural design of the bridge and determine the exact connections and foundations to be used, Schreinemachers says. “Final design has to be finished within a month, after which they have to do the detailed engineering,” he says. “Construction will start soon afterwards.” The client hopes to deliver the bridge by May 2014. The bridge will be located in the Dragon King Harbor River development of the Meixi Lake development within Changsha.


 

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