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hollandse brug almere

The design of infrastructural works is approached to a large extent from purely pragmatic considerations. But infrastructure forms a large part of our landscape, people in the Netherlands spend an average of 100 minutes a day on commuter traffic and it therefore deserves a more comprehensive approach than design based on only functional considerations. Entering into a dialogue with the landscape, seeking symbiosis with existing structures, utilizing / reinforcing local qualities and adding experience during movements add added value that can give specific places on a route meaning and recognisability.

The competition for the design of a second highway bridge at the location of the existing bridge over the IJmeer / Gooimeer between the historic polder landscape around Muiderberg and the modern polders around Almere offered the opportunity to provide an infrastructural project with more dimensions with only pragmatic ones. 

Almere is a real commuter city. Due to the special landscapes and functional location of the bridge, the concept of “departure” and “returning home” has been integrated into the design. In addition, the design of the new combined bridge was based on the experience of the landscape from the perspective of the motorist. The difference between day and night rhythm plays an important role in this. When one rushes off to work in the morning, the historic polder landscape is reached via the existing bridge. The sensation of departure is enhanced because the new bridge protrudes above the old one with a winding movement. 

Coming home is accentuated by the “upper deck”, forming an elegant winding route. The route is started just after the junction with the A1 and then reaches a maximum height of 28 meters above NAP at the middle of the existing bridge. Here the motorist is treated to an impressive panorama of the new land, the modern polder landscape, which unfolds before his eyes as a landscape of vast patchwork surrounding the city of Almere, the place of return.

The winding route triggers a sensation that is comparable to that on arrival in The Hague or Rotterdam via the fly-overs from respectively Prince Clausplein and Kleinpolderplein: the city manifests itself to the motorist just before arrival. This birds-eye perspective contributes greatly to the feeling of coming home. After this peak, people descend strongly to ground level, where the new road surface is lower than the existing road. The effect is a more intimate relationship with the water. The last part of the route lifts the motorist over the dike that protects Almere and the rest of Flevoland from the water. From the dyke a new view is created over the flat landscape with the skyline of Almere in the background. 

The return route on the actual bridge takes 30 seconds to complete, making it 5 seconds longer than the route of departure. This slightly longer journey time is in line with the slower rhythm of the night. The difference in rhythm is also reflected in the different way of designing and materializing the massive, existing bridge and the slender new one. Lighting lines and schemes accentuate the dynamic character of the new combined Hollandse Brug.

Project                      Hollandse Brug

Location                   Almere / Muiderberg, NL

Program                  Highway bridge

Size                               6 lanes, total length of trajectory 2.5 km, length of the bridge 1.0 km

Client                        Rijkswaterstaat (Directorate-General for Public Works and Water Management)

Design                       Architects: Dolf Langerak / Jemima de Brauwere, part of designteam at AAARCHITECTEN

Projectpartners    ABT Consulting Engineers, DPI Animation House

Status                        Preliminary Design


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