LAVA, schlaich bergermann partner and Latz + Partner have been awarded first prize in an international competition for their design of a cycle and pedestrian bridge in the German university town of Heidelberg. The winning proposal weaves together functionality with beautiful, minimalist design that is visually appealing both up-close and from afar. The 700-meter-long bridge will cross over the Neckar River and connect urban developments from north to south.

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rendering of people walking and riding bikes on wide bridge

Commissioned by the City of Heidelberg and the International Building Exhibition (IBA) Heidelberg, the winning proposal was praised by the jury for its “large, curved gesture.” The bridge will be built with seven spans measuring 60 meters each and a steel superstructure connected to slender prefabricated supports of ultra-high-strength, fiber-proven concrete. The steel-and-concrete construction with LEDs embedded in slender steel handrails will be elegant, minimalist and restrained in appearance.

Related: LAVA designs carbon-neutral LIFE Hamburg with an edible green roof

map rendering of bridge over river
Rendering of bridge over a highway

The inner-city bridge also responds to the different neighborhoods it traverses. For example, the bridge widens above the Neckar River — 105 meters of the bridge will be above water — to form a seating landscape with viewing balconies of the water. When crossing Genisenau Park, the bridge’s curved and column-free form is designed to frame the landscape and shield it from traffic. Earth ramps and stairs will make the bridge fully accessible to all users, while pedestrian and cyclists can enjoy fast transit thanks to the intersection-free design.

rendering of people walking on a bridge at dusk
rendering of bridge over a river

“It’s LAVA’s first major bridge project and continues our efforts to make infrastructure of high public value contributing both to liveability and sustainability,” said Tobias Wallisser, director of LAVA. “Anything that contributes to the reduction of car traffic and provides pedestrian promenades increases the quality of life.” The new bridge will connect the train station and districts to the south with the Neuenheimer Feld and the express bike path in the north.


Images via LAVA, schlaich bergermann partner and Latz + Partner