Vroenhoven Bridge - 02.015
Complete study of structure, architecture and landscape in collaboration with the artist Jozef Legrand. Project won through an open competition.
The Albert Canal between Antwerp with Luik, has been broadened for river traffic up to 9000 tons. The new bridge has a central span of 100m, allowing a free passage width of 86m. Highly complex conditions since the site is historically preserved. At this very spot, the second world war started for Belgium. The bunker next to the bridge testifies of this era.
The bridge is a stayed structure with a total length of 195 m. Its deck consists of two lanes of 3.25m width with adjacent pedestrian and cycle routes with a total width of 18,5m. The main structural system consists of two steel beams with variable height. The form varies according to the stresses acting in the beams, resulting in a materialised force diagram visible from the deck. These beams are used for separation of heavy traffic and pedestrians or cyclists and for pushing the bridge to its definitive location. The bridge was constructed in two phases. First placed in parallel to the existing bridge by pushing and was used as a temporary passage for about 18 months. Second the existing structure was demolished and the bridge was ripped laterally to substitute the previous structure.
The bridge structural abutment on the Riemst side is a massive construction that functions as a museum. The building is spread under the bridge and constitutes a connection that is both visual and temporal. The museum integrates several multifunctional spaces and an amphitheater. The external walls of the building are 170 m long, made of textured concrete to be used as climbing walls. The focus of this museum is the second world war. The original bunker is maintained. Particular attention was given to the roadworks and its implication through the different construction phases being a gate to the Flanders region for visitors coming from Maastricht.