Grimshaw has designed two new bridges for Amsterdam’s IJburg neighbourhood, continuing a family of bridges that began with the completion of the practice’s landmark Enneüs Heerma Bridge in 2001. The new bridges will link two new reclaimed residential islands in the manmade IJburg archipelago, sitting within the IJmeer lake.
Spanning 60m and 90m, the bridges’ continuous undulating steel trusses build on the theme of stones skipping over the water. Voids between the central decks for the public tram and the combined vehicle, pedestrian and cycle routes on either side allow views of the water and let light through to the area below the bridge decks.
The bridge abutments feature substantial wing walls that incorporate ecological features such as nesting places for sand martins and bats. These counteract the potential reduction of nesting opportunities for these species often caused by large new infrastructure and man-made quaysides. Passageways at the base of the abutments also allow small mammals to cross the road safely below deck. The project team worked closely with ecologists from both the City of Amsterdam and national expert organisations to design the optimum conditions for these animals.
The larger of the two bridges forms the entrance to Strandeiland, a future neighbourhood of 8,000 dwellings, mixed uses and a 750m urban beach. For this arrival point, Grimshaw has also designed two flexible use pavilions in the flanks of the bridge abutment offering space for commercial opportunities. The design of the pavilions was developed in collaboration with engineers Sweco and the City of Amsterdam Urban Planning team.
“This project shows how vital large infrastructure can create opportunities for social interaction and accommodate both people and nature. The pavilions are robust and adaptable spaces designed for longevity. It was very exciting to work closely with structural engineers and ecological experts to imagine the ideal nesting geometries for birds and bats and to create crossing opportunities for small mammals. The IJburg bridges could become a blueprint for future infrastructure projects to consider the inclusion of nature from the outset of design.”
Jorrin ten Have, Associate Principal
Construction of the bridges and pavilions just began with planned completion in 2025.
City of Amsterdam