Not so long ago, we brought you the Turbine Bridge, one of the more imaginative proposals submitted to the the  Amsterdam Iconic Pedestrian Bridge Competition. Now we bring you the Amstel River-Yard Project by Aïe Architectes, part of a Concours AC-CA competition (which comes to us via eVolo).

Like the Turbine Bridge, the Amstel River-Yard Project was designed to function as a pedestrian bridge in Amsterdam, a city that’s no stranger to bridges (currently, it’s home to 1,500 of them). So what does this design bring to the table that all those other bridges do not? Perhaps most notably, the fact that it also functions as a public park and a water filtration system.

Amstel River Yard Project
image via eVolo

Designed to connect opposing banks of the canal fronting the Hermitage Amsterdam Museum, this wide, planted bridge extends greenery to either side of it bicycle and pedestrian path to create a large, open space perfect for lounging or picnicking, or perhaps even a wedding. The canal remains navigable via a tunnel cut perpendicular to the path through the width of the bridge. Beside the boat tunnel, two depressions in the “bank” along the sides of the bridge dip into the water, providing semi- circular, pond-like spot for fishing or perhaps a summertime dip.

Two areas, on opposing corners of the bridge, are raised up to provide usable, interior space. The corner nearest the museum houses a small, green-roofed cafe, an office, bathroom and shower facilities (for swimmers wishing to shower off, we imagine), as well as a concession stand. On the opposite end of the bridge, the raised area houses a small bicycle repair station — a thoughtful touch in a city almost as famous for is cyclists as it is for its windmills. Oh, and did we mention the fact that this design actually also calls for a windmill?

Amstel River Yard
image via eVolo

Along the way, the bridge helps to filter the water in the canal. This is accomplished, first, by creating a large, planted surface area that purifies the rainwater that falls on the bridge before shunting that water into the canal — and second, by allowing the plants along the bank to filter the water in the canal itself as it flows past.

Beyond that, the idea here is to create flexible, adaptable public space for the city, blurring the line between indoor and outdoor public spaces. This is accomplished by creating a new courtyard, in essence for the museum, complete with an eatery, but also by creating spaces that could be used for urban farming, forests, and public events. These events might include open air concerts, or take place within a concert hall constructed on the bridge at a later date.

The bridge was meant to create new ‘fertile ground’ for central Amsterdam — both literally and figuratively —  in an imaginative way. It’s a bridge that, even in a city famous for its bridges, stands out for its integrated focus on both the local ecosystem and quality of life for local residents. More than simply a way to get from Point A to Point B, this bridge constitutes its own destination.

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