Bedburg Castle Park Footbridges in Germany, Sterling Presser wins first prize in the design competition of the double pedestrian and cyclist footbridges within the historical and natural landscape of Bedburg city.
Bedburg is in North Rhine-Rhineland, Westphalia’s west of Cologne, and is part of the Rhine-Erft district. It is a medium-sized town in the district with a population of around 25,000 people. Bedburg’s castle park is located in the heart of town, directly across from the main shopping area. Sterling Presser designed the two new bridges that will be built at the rear of the old city hall and at the southern end of the castle parking lot in order to clearly emphasize the relationship to the Erft River in Bedburg’s city center, to make the proximity to the water tangible, and to create new connections.
Two footbridges, of similar design, will create new pathways in an east-west direction and in a north-south direction, respectively, as well as contribute to the opening of the castle park in the direction of Bedburg’s city center.
The historic town hall and the castle park are linked by the first bridge. The listed structure is linked to the market square and the old church and serves as a landmark for the old town. The new bridge will improve city center connectivity and create a circular route. It also allows for direct access to the water.
The second bridge is an urban and landscape link to the “Schlosspark”. It opens up a direct connection to the entire park with the car park and the urban area on the south side, which is currently missing. The corner and entrance situation becomes a strategic place for pedestrians and cyclists – a place of promenade and contemplation and a link for green mobility.
According to Sterling Presser, talking over these footbridges should convey the beauty and tranquility of moving overflowing water, ideally almost unaware that you are no longer on the ground, but have the feeling of “flying” over the water. In order to achieve these heavenly feelings, the bridges must very modestly interfere with the existing beautiful landscape, and the sounds of feet and wheels as they make contact with the pavement should continue in the sounds you hear and the colors you feel as you move along the park avenues.
The brown corten steel of the supporting parapets is the brown tree trunk and the light gray anti-slippery pavement is the continuation of the park paths. The material concept of the bridges is to create a natural beauty by applying durable and weather-resistant materials. Over time the rust layer transforms into a dense patina layer that seals and protects the steel surface against further corrosion. The color changes from a fresh, newly developed orange-brown to a lighter and gradually darker brown, working with natural beauty.
In terms of form and typology, the two new bridges were designed as a ‘bridge family,’ creating new high-quality and prestigious connections that integrate into the castle park in a discreet but iconic way, creating new expressive places. The use of the bridges is a unique experience for users and provides a high quality of stay due to their unique design simplicity and material selection. By reflecting the local brick colors, the materials chosen contribute to the formation of the place’s identity. Using a parametric definition, the specific pattern of the railing on the two bridges creates identification and aesthetic differentiation. Because of the railing’s transparency, the Erft from the two bridges is directly perceptible.
The bridges’ structural concept consists of simply supported structures that are simple to build and install into the landscape on-site. They are constructed as a closed, simply supported section with two lateral box girders that vary in depth with a maximum depth at mid-span. The design is both aesthetically pleasing and cost-effective. Nonetheless, the minimalist approach employs noble and long-lasting materials that provide a tactile experience in the natural landscape. The thick wood handrail provides quality and a natural feel.
The lighting concept of the new footbridges is designed to ensure both user safety and a sense of lightness and a subtle presence on site that “resonates” with the historical buildings.
Integrated, environmentally and insect-friendly, low maintenance, and economical LEDs in the handrails create an indirect, glare-free, subtle carpet of light along the path. A presence detector on the pedestrian bridge allows the lighting to be deactivated when it is not being used by anyone.
Architecture: STERLING PRESSER Architects + Engineers Part G mbB, Berlin
Structural engineering: ADAO DA FONSECA, Portugal