Trains and train tracks are important transportation conduits in many cities, but they are also huge barriers to pedestrian traffic and new gateways need to be created in order to safely cross them. Take for instance the town of Villetaneuse, a suburb of Paris that is split in two by new train tracks. To connect the two sides of the university town, Paris-based firm DVVD designed a footbridge that spans the tracks and also provides access to the train station. Like an unfurling leaf or a plant springing up from the ground Gateway Villetaneuse is a natural extension of the pedestrian network.
The transportation network around Villetaneuse was recently upgraded, and though it was necessary, the project unfortunately created a division in the town’s pedestrian network. DVVD designed a footbridge to reconnect the two sides of the town while providing a new way to access the train station. DVVD also sought to make the bridge a natural extension of the urban fabric and a recognizable landmark.
The steel and wood bridge sprouts from the ground and curls like a blade of grass or a leaf. The bridge is open at either end and it curls up in the center to protect passengers from the elements, exposure, and the sound of the trains. The 156-meter-long bridge is 8 meters wide and it accommodates foot traffic as well as bikes. FSC-certified wood was used for the exterior cladding and floor boards to extend the bridge’s natural appearance. The bridge recently won the 2013 Architizer A+ Jury and Popular Vote Award in the Architecture + Mobility category.
Images ©Cyril Sancereau