As part of an international design competition led by Nantes Métropole, Grimshaw collaborated with Demathieu Bard, Charier, Ingérop, Phytolab, and Studio Vicarini, to develop a proposal for the transformation of Anne de Bretagne Bridge which crosses the river Loire in Nantes. The team was a runner up in the competition as one of three consortia commissioned to carry out a 16-month competitive dialogue process.
Nature, connection, and active travel are at the heart of the design, where the bridge becomes more than a river crossing but a destination in itself. Revitalising this important link between the historic centre and the Ile de Nantes, the design also responds to the bridge’s critical role as the centrepiece in Nantes’s travel plan and the series of new urban projects planned for the city, which together aim to reclaim the banks of the river Loire for public use.
“No longer just a river crossing, the bridge becomes an extension of the city, complementing the characteristics of the surrounding area.”
"The river must be the centre of attention: as a key feature of the landscape, a creator of 'commonality', abundance, and connection."
The ambition of the design proposal is to create a simple, functional and dynamic public space for Nantes, supported by a sustainable structure. Beyond improving travel, the design aims to offer meeting spaces, supports new artistic and civic expressions, all in an environment in which nature was omnipresent. Pedestrians and soft mobility are put in the foreground thanks to the intuitive and fluid routes, allowing them to circulate safely and coexist with all other modes of transport.
The landscape strategy is focused on creating a wide range of spaces surrounded by nature and biodiversity. Together, the variety of focal points form a polycentric place that accommodates different uses and activities depending on the hours of the day.
All users can experience the bridge’s spaces as they wish, in their own way – spaces which culminate in a grand central square at the bridge’s highest point, offering views across the Loire. Expressing the significance of the Loire and surrounding nature, designs for the bridge’s approach at night time aim to restore the link between public spaces and the darkness of the river using an evolving lighting strategy that adapts according to the seasons and local events.
As runner up in one of three consortia who took part in the design competition, our collaboration and dialogue with Nantes Metropole was invaluable. The result of the competition was announced in September 2022.
"The lighting strategy minimises impact on biodiversity by respecting the principle of ‘dark areas’, or ecological corridors for wildlife, while "smart" lighting is installed for the comfort of bridge users.”
Lead Contractor: Demathieu Bard
Lead Engineer: Ingérop
Landscape Design: Phytolab
Lighting Design: Studio Vicarini