The project resulted from a critical urban analysis of these so-called cauliflower districts. Built in the 1960-70’s, they mix public, collective, and private urban space (in an attempt to avoid hierarchical spatial organization) in a way that today is considered to be one of the causes for their progressive social degradation. Our project suggests to eliminate the many minor green spaces spread evenly across the urban morphology and instead affirm the canal zones as major green spaces of strong urban identity.
The slow-traffic bridges are designed to be spatial instruments enhancing the experience of those green canals. Based on the characteristic double-kinked form of the historic polder bridge – an artifact that belongs to the collective memory of the Dutch polder landscape – the bridges construct a scenography that emphasizes the tree-flanked canals as public interior space of great quality. By virtue of a raised railing at either end, the bridges articulate two gate situations (entrance/ exit) that is aligned with the row of the trees. The passage across the bridge between these two thresholds is one of liberating from the straight horizon of the railing towards the unobstructed experience of the green public interior space in its middle, before becoming framed again by the railing as the exit threshold. The detailing of the railing is subtly differentiated; articulating presence for the passage across the bridge yet keeping unobstructed the long sightlines along the canals.
The project consists of a morphological family for 65 bridges based on a modular design that reacts to three types of urban context with a differentiated railing (geometry/ rhythm) and to the spatial premises per location with variable lengths and elevations (kinked/ straight). The bridge body is made of fiberglass reinforced composite and the railing of steel.