Dafne Schippers Bridge

A Runners Bridge

The Dafne Schippersbrug integrates a bicycle and pedestrian bridge with a primary school and a park into one coherent design. The new connection between the historic city centre of Utrecht and the new district of Leidsche Rijn leads cyclists and passengers in a loop over the roof of the school to get across the Amsterdam-Rhine Canal. Because of the dual-use of land and the optimal integration of various programmes, the Dafne Schippers Bridge has become an icon for the city of Utrecht and the Dutch approach to sustainable cycling infrastructure.
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Marijn Schenk, Michel Schreinemachers, Bart Reuser with Tara Steenvoorden, Jurriaan Hillerstrom, Mark Jongerius (all NEXT) and Rudy Uytenhaak, Karin Dorrepaal and Jonathan van Leeuzen (all RUA)

Rudy Uytenhaak + Partners Architects, Bureau B+B urbanism and landscape architecture

National Steel Prize 2018 / Nominee
Dutch Concrete Prize 2017 / Honourable Mention
Roof of the Year 2016 / Nominee

Jeroen Musch, Leven op Daken, Marcel IJzerman

Exploring the bicycle route

The bridge over the Amsterdam-Rhine Canal is a fast and safe bicycle connection between the old and new city. With a big bend, cyclists go up 9 meters before crossing the roof of the school’s gymnasium to the other side of the canal. The route continues with a panoramic view of the canal, that is not being obstructed by buildings at any point along the way. The braided cables of the bridge form a slender gateway to the new city and become part of the surrounding landscape.

Connecting the old and the new city

The project combines the disciplines of architecture, landscape architecture, engineering, and urban design. The integral design acquires a layered function within the city. First of all, it serves as an important link between the new and the old city. It is estimated that more than 7,000 bicycles save many minutes of time every day on their route to and from the city centre. Secondly, the project is a catalyst for the further development of the public space in the district: by integrating various functions and making the bridge part of the public space, it has become an important meeting place for local residents and schoolchildren. A forgotten piece of land has been transformed into a new, vibrant public space. The new housing development that has been realized next to the bridge and the school and the Victor Hugo Plantsoen support this development.

Ever since the opening, the Dafne Schippersbrug has been embraced by the residents of Utrecht as an icon for the new connection between the Leidsche Rijn and Oog in Al districts. The bridge is not only an inspiring example of efficient use of space but also of an integrated approach in a complex urban context. The bridge is much more than a fast bicycle connection: for residents and for the city it is a symbol for a new, connected city.

Creating innovative connections

The Dafne Schippersbrug is a slim suspension bridge with a span of 110 meters. The deck hangs 9 meters above the water so that it does not hinder shipping. The highest point of the bridge rises 35 meters above the water. The suspension bridge has an asymmetrical arrangement consisting of two steel pylons, which support the cable system and suspend the concrete deck. The cable system that connects the steel pylons on both sides to the anchorage makes this bridge the first ground-anchored suspension bridge in the Netherlands.

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