Footbridge 2017 | Berlin, Germany 2017

Developed in conjunction with COWI and specialist manufacturer Premier Composite Technologies this concept proposal for an advanced composite footbridge was prepared for the Footbridge 2017 conference in Berlin. "Advanced composite" is a general term that covers the use of directional fibre reinforcement within a polymer resin matrix – also known as Fibre Reinforced Polymer (FRP). In this case the technology has been considered for the entirety of a compact and adaptable footbridge – deck, parapet, piers and ‘foundations’ – spanning the River Spree in Berlin.

The Spree forms part of a network of canal like waterways with a regulated water depth, permitting large objects to be manoeuvred through the city. Given the lightweight and cellular nature of an FRP structure, it is possible to consider the bridge deck as a floatation chamber – and connect the boat-building heritage of advanced composites to the construction. Therefore, there would be no need for a barge to carry the structure along the waterway. Power would be provided by a small associated tug or draw lines from the bank.

Outriggers would be used to stabilise the floating system in a similar way to traditional canoes. Using a system of tension elements, these would also be used to lift the structure out of the water. The deck can then be rotated into position and lowered onto its abutment positions. These outriggers would also be used as permanent floating supports for the bridge deck, minimising the main span length.