Traffic Bridge
Commissioned by the Province of Friesland, and in conjunction with Achterbosch Architecture under the combined name of OAK, Onix has developed 2 road bridges that connects 2 districts of Sneek on either side of the A7 motorway. The bridges were designed for a municipality that wished to establish a new city marker along the motorway. Framework The Department of Public Works, the user of the bridges, stated that it wished to use more wood in its constructions. To us, as the design team, the challenge was to realize bridges in a responsible and sustainable way, and to capitalize on the latest innovations in wood construction. We regarded it as important to elaborate the wooden bridges in such a way that it would be both recognizable and new to Sneek. The contours call to mind the traditional cheese-cover farmhouses of Friesland; the construction evokes reminiscences of the building expertise that it still abundantly present in the old city; the wooden beams reflect the shipbuilding industry, with Sneek as the water recreation city par excellence in the North Netherlands. All these aspects led to the first uncovered wooden bridges in the heaviest load class. This bridges are not only a novelty for the Netherlands but also for countries such as Canada, Norway and Switzerland where the covered bridges are a well-known feature. The bridges consists of Accoya wood, an acetylated type of wood that has been produced in a factory in Arnhem for around three years now. The acetylation of wood is a process that makes wood almost imperishable. The design of the bridges are a fusion of infrastructure, construction, art and architecture. As a component of the renewed A7 motorway, the wooden bridges were envisaged at two positions. The interface of the A7 with the inner city is thus defined for the motorist, for whom, when on the motorway, the bridges are a city marker. For passers-by crossing over the motorway, it is a gateway between the inner city and the suburbs. Besides motorized traffic, pedestrians and cyclists also make use of the bridges. The two wooden trusses have been coupled together at the centre to ensure stability. The arched form arose by optimizing the cross-section of the bridges for traffic. In conjunction with the triangular structure of the framework, this offers surprising visual perspectives. The bridgehead on the suburb side is a green dike element, whereas on the inner-city side it is a concrete span that bridges a waterway. The bridges were created as the result of an intensive and integrated design process. In consultation with the client, we were able to compile a team of professions and critics who made it possible to realize the bridges. The bridges were built by a contractor from the town of Schwäbisch Hall in southern Germany, where the tradition of producing half-timber houses, and also bridges, is well known.


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