Take me to the place I love

Dafne Schippers Bridge in Utrecht

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About

This unique design integrates a bicycle and pedestrian bridge with a school and a park into one cohesive whole. As such, the Dafne Schippers bridge and elementary school Oog in Al serve a variety of interests. Cyclists, neighbourhood residents, a local primary school, the municipality, and the Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment were all involved in this project.

The bridge, which crosses the Amsterdam-Rhine Canal in Utrecht, is the main link in the express cycling route that connects the historical city centre with the new neighbourhood of Leidsche Rijn. Cyclists travelling from the city centre to Leidsche Rijn will cycle to a height of nine metres as they veer around Victor Hugo park in a wide bend, taking them across the roof of the school and over the canal.

The special ones

In addition, by integrating functions and making the bridge an integral part of the public space in the neighbourhood, it is an important and special meeting point for local residents and school children. The double land use with maximum space for greenery makes the Dafne Schippers bridge unique, not only as a bridge but also as a place in its own right.

By the way, the name giver of the bridge is also special: Dafne Schippers was born in Utrecht and is a very successful athlete (among others European athlete of the years 2014 and 2015).

Fluent movement

In one fluent movement the bicycle route, park and school are joined together in a coherent infrastructure, building and landscape. The design challenges all the involved designers to intensly collaborate and clearly tune into each other.

The bicycle bridge, being positioned on the south side, creates space on the north side for a recreational area. The school and recreational area orientate towards the park. This is made possible by making the east side of the school, under the bridge, more narrow. The result is a private recreational area attached to the public park and an apparent, natural entrance in continuation of the street. The wide side of the school at the water complements the park and creates a safe enclosed space for the school children to play.

Panoramic view

The roof garden is an essential element between the different programmes. The garden is a continuation of the green environment on the roof, it offers extra space for the school to enjoy and creates a natural distance between the school and the cyclist.

In a wide angle cyclist are lifted up from the park, guided around the perma culture garden on the roof of the gym of the school, and lead through the trees, with a panoramic view over the canal. Flanked by water, the cyclist rides between an interweaving design of cables toward a lean gateway to safely land in Leidsche Rijn.

The Dafne Schippers bridge received an honourable mention for the Dutch Concrete Prize 2017 and was nominated for the Roof of the Year Awards 2016.

We did this.

Project data and companies involved

Architect

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Kauwgomballenfabriek
P. v. Vlissingenstraat 2a
NL – 1096 BK Amsterdam

rudy uytenhaak + partners architecten
Jan Evertsenstraat 779
NL – 1061XZ, Amsterdam

Team

Bart Reuser, Marijn Schenk, Michel Schreinemachers, Jurriaan Hillerström, Tara Steenvorden, Mark Jongerius, Rudy Uytenhaak, Karin Dorrepaal, Jonathan van Leuzen

Client

City of Utrecht
Stadsplateau 1
NL – 3521 AZ Utrecht

Landscape architect

Bureau B+B
Gedempt Hamerkanaal 96 
NL – 1021 KR Amsterdam

Structural engineering bridge

Arup Amsterdam

Opening

2016

Address

Amsterdam-Rijnkanaal
NL – 3528 BG Utrecht

Photos

Next architects /
Photography: Jeroen Musch

Aerials: 
Mastum Daksystemen / Maurice Iseger

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