Pedestrian Bridge in Esch

Pedestrian Bridge in Esch, Luxembourg, Metaform Architects
Address: Boulevard J.-F. Kennedy, Esch / Alzette | ESCH-SUR-ALZETTE | Luxembourg
Latitude/Longitude: 49.4975, 5.9825

The idea for Pedestrian Bridge in Esch was to create a direct connection between the heart of the city and the green space (Park of Galgenberg). The single volume is characterized by an uncluttered and minimalist design philosophy. The volume gesture clearly contrasts with the chaotic environment (overhead lines, power lines, boulevard, bus platforms and trains, roundabouts etc). The aesthetic of the project makes this bridge unique and creates a strong image for the station area.

The Esch footbridge (“passerelle”) is the outcome of a search for identity, form and significance. It aims to confer the city of Esch an intriguing and spectacular construction (landmark), that seems to float between two worlds. With its furtive forms and scaleless architecture, it is right at the centre of urban marketing. Beyond the feelings it kindles, be they positive or negative, it unleashes a storm of questions. Who is this bridge, where does it lead to? The access to another world would remain unknown, if curiosity didn’t push us to take the stairs or use the elevator to get to the top. Reflecting its environment, it likes to change its appearance according to its moods. During daytime, when the weather is fine, it shows itself in a sky-grey dress, whose rounded edges contrast furiously with the darkness of the woods beyond. When the weather is more capricious, it withdraws in order to merge with the color of the sky, and can even disappear during a thick fog.

At night, it is more discreet, as it allows itself to be illuminated by the city lights and the passing cars and trains. Although -having walked up its stairs- we way feel unharmed, we have to face the fact that we are now inside the animal’s guts. Confronted with its purple red color, we feel both unsettled and reassured. Reassured, because of the reference to the City, its political orientation, and its connection with the Red Earth area (“Terres Rouges”). Unsettled, because we are now in the animal’s mouth, seemingly carried away by a red carpet, inviting us to cross into another world, full of trees and birds. Even though we are now on the other side of the bank, we must remain watchful, lest it turns red, to show that it closes down until dawn.

Client: Town of Esch-sur-Alzette
Client’s representative: WW+, Luxembourg
Structural engineer: T6-Ney & Partners, Luxembourg
Technical engineer: Betic, Luxembourg
Lighting planners: Speirs and Major Associates, London, United Kingdom
General contractor: CDC sàrl & Cie Secs, Luxembourg
Steel construction: Aelterman, Gent, Belgium
Beginning / Achievement: april 2008 / november 2009
Length: 105m

– 1st Prize in an international design&build competition, 2007
– Winner of Archdaily’s “building of the year 2010” which recognizes the best buildings featured on during 2010
– Steel award, “Prix Acier 2011”, Luxembourg
– “Bauhärenprais 2012”, Luxembourg

Contributed by Metaform Architects

⇒ Architecture Guide to ESCH-SUR-ALZETTE