In 2017, in close collaboration with Artgineering, we came up with the winning design for two bicycle and pedestrian bridges across the L50 railway tracks just north of Brussels. Client is Infrabel, the company that builds, maintains and renews Belgiums railway infrastructure. The two bridges are located at Sint-Agatha-Berchem trainstation and in Ganshoren, which is located just east of Sint-Agatha-Berchem. Both bridges vastly increase safety and overall appearance of the railway crossings and increase the physical connection with the very nearby Flanders. The addition of the two new footbridges is part of the future expansion of the GEN, the regional Express network.
Our design was chosen by the client above the designs by Greisch and Ney+Partners, both renowned bridge design offices. We made the bold choice to design a footbridge combined with elevators rather than the requested bicycle bridge for Sint-Agatha-Berchem (SAB) station. Given the available space and existing situation, we concluded that creating a bicycle bridge here would simply require way too much space and would not lead to an appealing overall layout.
The SAB bridge therefore comprises of a compact S-shaped structure with a transparent steel elevator tower on either side. The Ganshoren bridge is a curved bridge that connects to embankments, creating a smooth bicycle and pedestrian crossing. Both bridges have load-bearing box-shaped railings in weathering steel.
The SAB bridge stands out the most. Structurally its sculptural design is rather clever: torsionally stiff load-bearing balustrades support bridge deck and stairs while the balustrade itself is supported by cantilevered beams which are part of the elevator tower structure. We opted for load-bearing railings as this minimizes the height difference for pedestrians. Compared to a traditional setup with columns and beams, the bridge deck is about 15 to 20 centimeters lower now.
The S-shape itself consists of a straight crossing directly above the railway track and two curved, slighty fanned stairs. The balustrades are custom made box structures measuring 166 centimeters in height. To prevent them from sagging, there are box shaped steel girders connecting the two balustrades underneath both bridge deck and stairs. The entire S-shape is one welded-together structure which is also rigidly connected to the elevator shafts. Thermal expansion is provided for in the curve of the stairs.
We opted for weathering steel and smooth, curvy shapes. The building material is maintenance free as well as timeless, and the curves make for a logical and inviting design. Both bridges have been designed to incorporate easy wheelchair and disabled access and are accessible to cyclists.
partners: Artgineering, Infrabel, Franki Construct, Almex Metaal, Stendess, Metriek
total costs: ca. 4 million euros
call Ivo Mulders:
+ 31 15 750 25 73