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Sumit Singhal
Sumit Singhal
Sumit Singhal loves modern architecture. He comes from a family of builders who have built more than 20 projects in the last ten years near Delhi in India. He has recently started writing about the architectural projects that catch his imagination.

Cirkelbroen Bridge in Copenhagen, Denmark by Studio Olafur Eliasson

 
September 3rd, 2015 by Sumit Singhal

Article source: Studio Olafur Eliasson

Cirkelbroen celebrates pedestrians. It reflects the daily life and intimacy that you find around the canal in the Christianshavn neighbourhood, its houseboats and sailing boats, the unique life on the ramparts. Copenhagen’s harbour was once a centre of maritime activity, and Cirkelbroen is a testimony to that history.

Image Courtesy © Søren Svendsen

Image Courtesy © Søren Svendsen

  • Architects: Studio Olafur Eliasson
  • Project: Cirkelbroen Bridge
  • Location: Copenhagen, Denmark
  • Photography: Anders Sune Berg, Søren Svendsen

Image Courtesy © Anders Sune Berg

Image Courtesy © Anders Sune Berg

While working on the bridge, I remembered the fishing boats I saw as a child in Iceland. In the harbour, the boats were often moored right next to each other, and it sometimes seemed that you could even cross the harbour just by walking from boat to boat.The bridge is made of five circular platforms, and it contributes to a larger circle that will form a pedestrian route around Copenhagen Harbour, where people – cycling, running, walking – can see the city from a very different perspective. As many as 5,000 people will cross this bridge each day.

Image Courtesy © Anders Sune Berg

Image Courtesy © Anders Sune Berg

I hope that these people will use Cirkelbroen as a meeting place, and that the zigzag design of the bridge will make them reduce their speed and take a break. To hesitate on our way is to engage in bodily thought. I see such introspection as an essential part of a vibrant city. In Copenhagen, progress has been made in thinking about what constitutes quality in urban space and about the atmosphere of a space. Obviously, one cannot plan atmosphere, as it is co-produced by the people who use the space, but it is possible to nurture an atmosphere, to allow it to grow.

Image Courtesy © Anders Sune Berg

Image Courtesy © Anders Sune Berg

As an artist, I work with abstract and emotional qualities, so this is where, I believe, art can play a role. I’m convinced that politicians, urban planners, and developers need to expand their toolbox by bringing in what I would call creative reality producers – artists, social scientists, sociologists, anthropologists, historians, dancers, poets, environmental activists, and philosophers – to rethink urban spaces.

Image Courtesy © Anders Sune Berg

Image Courtesy © Anders Sune Berg

In Denmark, there is a strong tradition of focusing on inclusion, on accepting the other – welcoming ideas that we have not yet had, people we have not yet met, and unpredictable encounters. It’s something we all have to work on together, and one way of addressing this is in how we plan public space. Cirkelbroen, I hope, will contribute to improving the quality of life and the development of a hospitable and inclusive city.

Image Courtesy © Anders Sune Berg

Image Courtesy © Anders Sune Berg

Cirkelbroen (The circle bridge) has officially opened in Copenhagen. More than 7,000 attended the festive opening ceremony for the bridge, where world-renowned Danish-Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson, the creator of the bridge, spoke alongside Lord Mayor of Copenhagen, Frank Jensen, and Mogens Hugo, the chairman of Nordea-fonden.

Image Courtesy © Anders Sune Berg

Image Courtesy © Anders Sune Berg

More than 7,000 attended the festive opening ceremony of Cirkelbroen, in Copenhagen. Eliasson looks forward to Cirkelbroen becoming part of everyday life for the people of Copenhagen: “Cirkelbroen creates new spaces along the waterfront. It brings people closer to the water and encourages them to slow down a little and take a break. I hope it will become a meeting place, a ‘see-you-at-the-bridge’ kind of place. “In my art practice, I often use transient materials such as wind, fog and flowing water. It has been wonderful to have the opportunity to make a structure like Cirkelbroen, which both embodies this transience – the changing of the weather and the waterfront atmosphere – and, as a bridge, has a long, stable life ahead of it. I am filled with immense pride to know that Cirkelbroen will now be part of Copenhagen.

Image Courtesy © Anders Sune Berg

Image Courtesy © Anders Sune Berg

” Cirkelbroen will make it easier for the people of Copenhagen to cycle, walk or run along the Copenhagen waterfront and through the city. But it will provide much more than that. It will serve as a new meeting place and vantage point along the waterfront for reflection, new views and perspectives. It invites one to take a break from an otherwise busy day. Frank Jensen, the Lord Mayor of Copenhagen, who received the bridge on behalf of the city, is very pleased with the opening ceremony for Cirkelbroen:

Image Courtesy © Anders Sune Berg

Image Courtesy © Anders Sune Berg

“The Cirkelbroen bridge enhances an already lively, and attractive waterfront atmosphere for the people of Copenhagen. This was emphasised today by the presence of such a large number of people at the official opening. The bridge binds our city more tightly together and is a landmark for the entire area of which we can be proud.” Mogens Hugo, chairman of the board for Nordea-fonden, is also very pleased that Copenhagen residents have so warmly welcomed the Cirkelbroen bridge: “We are very pleased by the many people who chose to spend their Saturday with us.

Image Courtesy © Anders Sune Berg

Image Courtesy © Anders Sune Berg

Naturally, the most important thing is how the people of Copenhagen will use the bridge in their daily lives. But their positive reception of Cirkelbroen today indicates that the bridge has a bright future ahead.” Cirkelbroen was designed by artist Olafur Eliasson and is a gift from Nordeafonden to the City of Copenhagen. Nordea-fonden is a non-profit and charitable foundation supporting activities that promote good living in Denmark.

Image Courtesy © Anders Sune Berg

Image Courtesy © Anders Sune Berg

Fact sheet

Based on the Christianshavn district’s maritime history and culture, Olafur Eliasson used the sailing boat as the visual point of departure for the design of Cirkelbroen. The bridge consists of five staggered circular platforms of various sizes, each with its own ‘mast’. Cirkelbroen is lit at night, and one section of the bridge functions like a swing bridge, rotating to allow large boats to pass into and out of the canal.

Design: 

  • Olafur Eliasson, artist
  • Studio Olafur Eliasson: Sebastian Behmann (architectural design), Robert Banović (project architect) and Jan Bünnig (prototyping).
Image Courtesy © Anders Sune Berg

Image Courtesy © Anders Sune Berg

Builder:

Nordea-fonden has built the bridge as a gift to the City of Copenhagen, which, now is responsible for its operation and maintenance. Nordea-fonden supports non-profit and charitable purposes.

Construction:

The building of the bridge complies with Local Urban Development Plan 511 Cirkelbroen, adopted by the City Council of Copenhagen on 22 January 2015, and implemented by means of an executive order of 2 February 2015. The building project commenced on 15 March 2012. It was completed in August 2015.

Image Courtesy © Anders Sune Berg

Image Courtesy © Anders Sune Berg

Placement:

Cirkelbroen is a pedestrian bridge comprising five circular bridge platforms spanning Christianshavn Canal to connect the Christiansbro area with Applebys Plads. For years, it has been a goal of the City of Copenhagen to create a contiguous boardwalk along the inner waterfront. Time-lapse – Bridge under way and done- Cirkelbroen, Copenhagen.

Use:

Cirkelbroen is a pedestrian bridge that makes it easier for residents to walk, jog and cycle along the inner waterfront. Around 5,000 cyclists and pedestrians are expected to cross the bridge on a daily basis.

Size and opening:

The bridge is roughly 40 metres long with a water-clearance height of 2.25 metres when closed. The total length of the rotating part is around 25 metres long. The bridge opens as a swivel bridge to provide an open navigable channel of 9 metres. The bridge is a part of the City of Copenhagen’s bridge-opening policy. After receiving security certification, the local bridge society will be able to open the bridge with a key card. It takes about 20 seconds to open the bridge.

Image Courtesy © Anders Sune Berg

Image Courtesy © Anders Sune Berg

The name:

The name “Cirkelbroen” (the Circle Bridge) arises from its shape: five differently-sized circular platforms, each with its own ‘mast’. The circle presents an alternative to the direct line across the water. It encourages pedestrians and cyclists to reduce their speed; it provides a vantage point where people can take a short break, thus creating a new space between two urban areas rather than providing the fastest possible route across Christianshavn Canal. The circle also refers to the compass, to orientation and to cartography. It suggests a dynamic navigation model which enables a renegotiation of the public space. In so doing,
the bridge makes small changes to the way we perceive and experience the city. At a macro level, the circle refers to the circle drawn by the inner city of Copenhagen, which Cirkelbroen helps to complete by connecting the Christiansbro area to Appelbys
Plads.

Materials used

  • Wood on railings: Guariuba wood from Brazil
  • Paint on railings: RAL 3016, gloss 60
  • Platform decking: Matacryl bridgedeck waterproofing
  • Light sources: “Simes”, DALI-controlled LED luminaires, 18W, 4000 K in columns. “Light Constructor” LED, Linear light Flex LF05A, 17W, 3000 K in handrails. The artist sets the lighting, which can otherwise be individually controlled. The lighting is switched on and off automatically together with the street lighting.
  • The opening of the bridge is operated by local sailors (Brolauget Cirkelbroen) by activating the
    controls in a control box on the north ramp using an electronic card, which identifies the user. It
    takes about 20 seconds to open the bridge.
  • Weight: the bridge, guardrails, elevated pedestrian bridge, masts and bearings together weigh 210tonnes. The biggest single section weighs 132 tonnes.
  •  Cables: A total of 118 were used.

About the artist

Danish-Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson (born 1967) works in a wide range of media, including installation, painting, sculpture, photography, and film. Since 1997, his critically acclaimed solo shows have appeared in major museums around the world, such as the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Tate Modern, London; Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Humlebæk, Denmark; and the Venice Biennale. In 2003, his hugely popular The weather project, in the Turbine Hall of Tate Modern, London, was seen by more than two million people. Eliasson’s projects in public space include Green river, realised in various cities between 1998 and 2001; The New York City Waterfalls, 2008; Your rainbow panorama, a 150-metre circular, coloured-glass walkway situated on top of ARoS Museum in Aarhus, Denmark, 2011; the crystalline facades of the Harpa Reykjavik Concert Hall and Conference Centre (in collaboration with Henning Larsen Architects), 2005–11; and Cirkelbroen (The circle bridge),
Copenhagen, Denmark, 2015.

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Category: Bridge

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