Erik Andersson Architects has proposed a new type of bridge for Kalix, Sweden that does more than just connect riverbanks—it also doubles as public space. The Swedish Traffic Administration tapped the architecture firm for the proposal in anticipation of the upcoming 2019 replacement of an existing bridge over the Kalix River. The conceptual bridge extends outwards over the water to form amphitheater-like seating where the public can gather and get closer to the river.
Located at the junction between the river and the sea in northern Sweden, Kalix owes much to its rivers, from its name to Kalixlöjrom, a culinary delicacy specific to the area. Thus, the Swedish Traffic Administration asked Erik Andersson Architects to design a new bridge that would also serve as a central gathering place by the riverside. Drawing on their experience with bridge design across Sweden, the firm proposed a design that offered separate routes for vehicles, pedestrians, and cyclists, as well as public spaces with seating and shelter.
“The idea behind the bridge is to turn a simple crossing of the river into an experience and create a warm atmosphere,” said Erik Andersson. “The bridge is a hybrid of an amphitheatre and a bridge. We also wanted to make it possible for people to get near the water surface and enjoy the view, while at the same time giving protection from the weather which can get harsh in this part of the country.” To provide shelter, the architects turned the elevated car and cycle paths into a roof-like structure that provides shelter to the pedestrian pathway below. The bridge’s supporting arches are built outwards to serve as gathering spaces that step down to the water and face south to capture the warmth of the sun.
Images via Erik Andersson Architects