The minimalist bridge in Esch-sur-Alzette, Luxembourg by Metaform architecture has redefined the way pedestrian bridges are integrated into the urban life. The bridge was designed as a connection point between the busy city and Galgenberg Park. The unique design creates a strong contrast against the chaotic urban environment, offering pedestrians a peaceful refuge.
The Esch footbridge (“passerelle”) is the outcome of a search for identity, form and significance. It aims to confer the city of Esch an intriguing and spectacular construction (landmark), that seems to float between two worlds. With its furtive forms and scaleless architecture, it is right at the centre of urban marketing. Beyond the feelings it kindles, be they positive or negative, it unleashes a storm of questions. Who is this bridge, where does it lead to? The access to another world would remain unknown, if curiosity didn’t push us to take the stairs or use the elevator to get to the top. Reflecting its environment, it likes to change its appearance according to its moods. During daytime, when the weather is fine, it shows itself in a sky-grey dress, whose rounded edges contrast furiously with the darkness of the woods beyond. When the weather is more capricious, it withdraws in order to merge with the color of the sky, and can even disappear during a thick fog. At night, it is more discreet, as it allows itself to be illuminated by the city lights and the passing cars and trains. Although -having walked up its stairs- we may feel unharmed, we have to face the fact that we are now inside the animal’s guts. Confronted with its purple red color, we feel both unsettled and reassured. Reassured, because of the reference to the City, its political orientation, and its connection with the Red Earth area (“Terres Rouges”). Unsettled, because we are now in the animal’s mouth, seemingly carried away by a red carpet, inviting us to cross into another world, full of trees and birds. Even though we are now on the other side of the bank, we must remain watchful, lest it turns red, to show that it closes down until dawn.
Architect: Metaform architecture, Luxembourg
Site: Boulevard J.-F. Kennedy, Esch / Alzette, Luxembourg
Client: Town of Esch-sur-Alzette
Client’s representative: WW+, Luxembourg
Structural engineer: T6-Ney&partners, Luxembourg
Technical engineer: Betic, Luxembourg
Lighting planners: Speirs and Major Associates, London, United Kingdom
General contractor: CDC sàrl & Cie Secs, Luxembourg
Steel construction: Aelterman, Gent, Belgium
Beginning / Achievement: april 2008 / november 2009
Photographer: Steve Troes Fotodesign
*All images and information courtesy of Metaform architecture.