Baden-Würtemberg | Balingen, Germany 2019-2023

Bridge Design Awards International Winner 2023
Open International Design Competition Winner 2019

“Balingen Footbridge demonstrates not just the aesthetic and structural potential of timber in place of steel in bridge-building, but the carbon that can be sequestered. Through offsetting the concrete going into the abutments, timber allows you to create a more sustainable piece of infrastructure, that, with the correct maintenance, can last as long as any steel structure"

This pedestrian and cycle bridge for the town of Balingen in southern Germany, was the result of a close design collaboration with timber bridge engineering specialist Ingenieurbüro Miebach. Balingen Footbridge embodies the town’s ambitious dual commitment to design excellence and a sustainable future, while offering a sympathetic response to the natural river setting. Unveiled ahead of the 2023 Baden-Würtemberg Garden Show, the bridge will form a focal showpiece of a 14-hectare regeneration for the event.

As well as linking event venues, the new bridge strengthens Balingen’s network of foot and cycle paths and will serve as a catalyst for further responsible regeneration of the River Eyach, a revived amenity which runs through the town. The footbridge also sets an important exemplar in the creation of sustainable infrastructure, through timber construction, in place of steel and concrete.

The innovative, sustainable, and low-maintenance bridge features a pair of structural timber beams spanning 40 metres over the river at an oblique angle, cradling pedestrians and cyclists upon a 3.0m wide fibre reinforced plastic deck. At both ends of the bridge, the structure widens to 5.0m, allowing comfortable access. The two subtly angled and tapered beams are designed to flare outwards in plan as they approach either riverbank, embracing the town’s network of footpaths and cycle tracks. The beams extend above the level of the deck to form the bridge’s parapet sides – a necessity allowing the bridge to clear future predicted flood levels while enabling fully accessible gradients at either approach. The visible, outward leaning outer faces of the shaped glulam beams will weather naturally over time. The inner, pedestrian facing surfaces are clad in native timber slats with integrated lighting and handrails.

Fabrication photographs by Ingenieurbüro Miebach.