Who said bridges can’t be fun? A new bridge in the Dutch city of Utrecht is not only pulling double duty as a pedestrian and bike path, but it also forms a roof garden over a local school that’s surrounded by a green public park. Designed by NEXT Architects, the unique Dafne Schippers Bridge – which will officially open on April 3rd – covers the Amsterdam-Rhine Canal in Utrecht and provides the community with plenty of space to run, bike and play.
Working under commission for the city, NEXT Architects collaborated with Rudy Uytenhaak Architectenbureau, Arup and Bureau B+B landscape architects, to create a unique design that focused on the needs of the community.
Although typical bridges tend to be solitary, functional structures, the ambitious layout of Dafne Schippers Bridge makes it an integral part of the area’s urban design, complete with smooth cycling and walking lanes, all surrounded by expansive greenery.
The bridge itself is approximately 360 feet and connects the old part of Utrecht with the new district Leidsche Rijn. From the Utrecht district of Oog in Al, cyclists and pedestrians follow a long bend upwards through Victor Hugo Park. The path leads through the green roof of a local Montessori school. Marijn Schenk, from NEXT architects explains that this cohesive design is meant to create a seamless connection for the community, “In one fluid movement, the cycle route, park, and school are brought together to form a cohesive whole of infrastructure, architecture, and landscape,”