Connecting the diversity of the city and creating a platform for coexistence.
quote title: Heidegger, Building Dwelling Thinking, 4 essays.
Playing on the IJ. A living bridge for Amsterdam
The IJ is the centre of the city of Amsterdam and at the same time it constitutes the biggest barrier by dividing Amsterdam North from the rest of the city. Over the past half century connections to North have been made in the form of tunnels, invisible beneath the ground and only accessible to motorized traffic. Ferry boats take pedestrians and cyclist across the river.
A bridge over the IJ between the northern and the south-eastern bank of the IJ will strengthen the development and connect the city. This bridge is a manifesto for a new public domain in Amsterdam on the IJ. The differences and similarities within the city come together on this bridge.
The bridge for slow traffic consists of two rotating elements that close in the middle.
The construction is based on the structure of knitwear: an open and closed mesh made up of one type of material, tied together with one type of connection. The idea arose by the idea of the symbol of connecting. The bridge exists of two arms and needs to be the connection between north and south, actually a contradiction. The design needs to be an expression of connecting.
Section of the west view of the bridge, the headway in the middle is 14 m. above water level.
The ‘form’ of the bridge consists of hard, angular lines; the two arms point to the other side of the IJ but do not reach that far. For that, they need each other. At that point a square is created, a new public place for the city on the IJ. The angular lines of the two arms ‘explain’ the different phases of crossing the bridge; leaving the bank, ascending the bridge, the climax in the middle of the bridge, the continuation of the route, reaching the other bank and looking back at the bridge. The ‘matter’ of the bridge consists of many flowing lines, the lines that users make on the bridge, the so-called ‘elephant paths’.
If you place the ‘form’ and the ‘matter’ over each other, you get unused, empty places: ‘freespaces’ (Lebbeus Woods). Freespaces are places and structures for living and working that are free from any aim or appearance defined in advance. These places are difficult to occupy and are intended solely for those who are inventive enough to inhabit them.
The occupation of the armpits of the bridge by its users will strengthen the bridge as a place and turn it literally and symbolically into a platform for the differences and the coexistence of Amsterdam.