Moxon Architects recently won an invited competition for a pedestrian and cycle bridge for the town of Balingen in southern Germany, a design collaboration with timber bridge engineering specialist Ingenieurbüro Miebach. The proposal, which embodies Balingen’s ambitious dual commitment to design excellence and a sustainable future, was unanimously selected by a jury of experts and commended for its sympathetic response to the natural riverbank setting. Due to be unveiled for the 2023 Baden-Würtemberg Garden Show, the bridge will form a focal showpiece of a 14-hectare regeneration in preparation for the event. In addition to linking event venues, the strategically located crossing will help transform the River Eyach and its banks in the long term, enhancing a new leisure corridor that runs through the town.
The innovative, sustainable, and low-maintenance bridge will feature a pair of structural timber beams spanning 40 metres over the River Eyach at an oblique angle, cradling pedestrians and cyclists upon a 3.5m wide deck. The two subtly angled and tapered beams are designed to flare outwards in plan as they approach either riverbank, embracing the town’s network of footpaths and cycle tracks.
The beams extend above the level of the deck to form the bridge’s parapet sides – a necessity allowing the bridge to clear future predicted flood levels while enabling fully accessible gradients at either approach. The outward leaning outer faces of the shaped glulam beams will be visible, weathering naturally over time. The inner, pedestrian facing surfaces will be clad in native timber slats with integrated lighting and handrails.
Ingenieurbüro Miebach invited Moxon to collaborate on the competition having worked together on past proposals. Both practices have developed rich bridge portfolios, Moxon’s includes an ultra-thin beam bridge completed in 2017 for the King’s Cross regeneration in London, a pedestrian swing bridge at Greenwich Reach, London and a proposed meandering accessible footbridge to enhance the Thames Path beneath the existing Barnes Bridge at Chiswick, UK. The invited competition was judged by an expert jury chaired by landscape architect Professor Cornelia Bott.
Ezra Groskin, Associate at Moxon Architects said: ‘We are delighted with this win. We look forward to working with a client who recognises the importance of sustainable infrastructure and a world-leading engineer fully committed to timber structures. The new bridge will strengthen the footpath network in Balingen and contribute to responsible regeneration. Furthermore we believe timber will continue to play a growing role in the UK’s built environment and so are excited to bring the experience and knowledge gained through this Euorpean collaboration home where it will inform our approach to designing both bridges and buildings in this country.’