The new bridge strengthens Balingen’s network of foot and cycle paths and will serve as a catalyst for further responsible regeneration of the River Eyach
Moxon Architects has completed a pedestrian and cycle bridge for the town of Balingen in southern Germany, a design collaboration with timber bridge engineer Ingenieurbüro Miebach.
As well as linking event venues, the new bridge strengthens the town’s network of foot and cycle paths and will serve as a catalyst for further responsible regeneration of the River Eyach.
The footbridge also demonstrates a commitment to sustainable infrastructure through the use of timber construction, in place of steel and concrete.
The low-maintenance bridge features a pair of structural timber beams spanning 40 metres over the river at an oblique angle, carrying pedestrians and cyclists upon a three metre wide fibre-reinforced plastic deck. At both ends of the bridge, the structure widens to five metres, allowing comfortable access.
The two tapered beams are designed to flare outwards in plan as they approach either riverbank, embracing the town’s network of footpaths and cycle tracks. The beams extend above the level of the deck to form the bridge’s parapet sides – a necessity allowing the bridge to clear future predicted flood levels while enabling fully accessible gradients at either approach.
The inner, pedestrian-facing surfaces are clad in native timber slats with integrated lighting and handrails. While the outer faces of the shaped glulam beams will weather naturally over time.
The footbridge also demonstrates a commitment to sustainable infrastructure, through timber construction, in place of steel and concrete.
Ingenieurbüro Miebach and Moxon won the project in 2019 and the timber bridge adds to both practices’ rich bridge portfolios. Moxon’s includes a pair of bridges over the Regents Canal for the King’s Cross regeneration in London, a pedestrian swing bridge at Greenwich Reach in London and the recently completed footbridge along the Thames Path in Chiswick, UK.
Ezra Groskin, director at Moxon Architects said: “Balingen Footbridge demonstrates not just the aesthetic and structural potential of timber in place of steel in bridge-building, but the carbon that can be sequestered. Through offsetting the concrete going into the abutments, timber allows you to create a more sustainable piece of infrastructure, that, with the correct maintenance, can last as long as any steel structure.
Frank Miebach, director at Ingenieurbüro Miebach explained: “The big challenge in this project was working within the structural limitations that such a pared-back, elegant aesthetic can impose. Thanks to the excellent exchange with the architects, we were able to give the simple structural form of a trough bridge a unique typology. We were able to implement our premise for good structural wood protection in an appealing way through the inclined girders. This shows that together we can interpret wood in a contemporary way for bridges, and hope to herald a paradigm shift.”