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NEXT ARCHITECTS
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SCHICHTWECHSEL

Completion
Competition
Team
Bart Reuser, Marijn Schenk and Michel Schreinemachers with Felix Krüger, Jouke Sieswerda, Nick van Harmelen, Michelle Franke, Veronica Tirelli, Christiana Chaikali and Giannis Nikiforou
Client
Emschergenossenschaft
Type
Bridge
Location
Castrop-Rauxel / DE
Collaborator
Ingenieurbüro Miebach and Greenbox Landschaftsarchitekten
Size
1.500m2 / 600m

The bridge over the Emscher is the final piece of the large-scale redevelopment works in the Ruhr area that transformed a polluted, industrial mining area into a green, sustainable economy based on education, culture and sports. For this special competition, NEXT architects, i.c.w. Miebach and Greenbox designed the Schichtwechsel: a layered design that connects the different (hi)stories that collide at this unique place. Schichtwechsel refers to the past of the region as it means ‘shift change’. This relates to the mining and industrial heratige but reaches out towards the future. We’re at the shifting point from the carbon energy towards renewable energy; bridging the past and future.

BRIDGE AS STORYTELLING
The Emscher Park is a former mining area and complex site with numerous intersecting and overlapping layers: of infrastructure, waterways, underground infrastructure, landscape, parks and recreational paths. The bridge is a meeting point and functions as a red thread that connects these different qualities and landscapes.

The Schichtwechsel is a fluid route through the park. The strength of the bridge lays in its self-evident shape. It becomes a natural part of the landscape, at times merging with it, at times standing out to offer a panoramic view over the canal.  A succession of experiences that changes its character and function in the encounter with the landscape: from balcony, to pergola or lookout point.

A BRIDGE FOR THE FUTURE
The Schichtwechsel is an utmost sustainable wooden bridge for future generations. The structure consists of a clear shape with a basis and two sides. The basic elements can move up, down and to the side to create a fluid dialogue with the characteristics of the soil which it is passing.

The overall look is an elegant line that connects the layers and landscapes it crosses in a wide detour.

The expressivity of the carbonised material refers to the past industrial histories of the site, to the present transformations of the Ruhrgebiet as well as the future development of the Emscher Landschaftspark. This is strengthened by the use of the properties of the material itself and the placement of PV cells, to create a durable, future-oriented and energy-producing bridge with a minimal CO2 footprint.