MWSP Mannheim | Mannheim, Germany 2020

Awarded 'Anerkennung'

The proposed bridge over the B38 in Mannheim creates a new connection between Franklin-Mitte to the north and Columbus-Quartier to the south. While it is an innovative sustainable structure it's expression is modest, reading more as an extension of the landscape path network than an element of infrastructure or engineering. The primary emphasis has been placed on park and bridge users who will experience a well crafted path linking the two sites. Motorists passing below will be presented with a slender, sculptural timber form with only a hint of the path it cradles.

In order to acheive the ambitious 50m+ highway span, the granite and timber path is cradled between two curving timber glulam beams along the main and back spans. The top surfaces of the outward leaning beams gradually move up and down along their lengths in response to structural demand. Similarly, the outer beam is larger as it carries more load. The result is a pair of elegantly sculpted forms visible from all directions and especially dynamic when seen along their lengths. To bridge users the beams also provide a welcome sense of enclosure, shielding pedestrians and cyclists from the car traffic below while still offering views towards the horizon.

At the north end the path floats lightly above the park, atop a landscaped earth ramp. As soon as the bridge takes off, it begins gradually bending to the south west in order to cross perpendicular to the highway. To the south of highway B38 the path curve tightens to wind users down to street level quickly and comfortably while reducing impact on the existing street layout and parking capacity. The gently unfurling spiral will act as a gateway, encouraging a range of views as users wind their way up and over the main span.