Red cycle path by NEXT and Rudy Uytenhaak snakes over Utrecht school and canal

This vivid red bicycle track was designed by NEXT Architects and Rudy Uytenhaak Architectenbureau to wind over the roof of a school in the Dutch city of Utrecht, and continues to bridge over a canal.

Amsterdam-based NEXT Architects and Rudy Uytenhaak Architectenbureau integrated the cycle and pedestrian bridge with a school and a public garden to provide a new route across the Amsterdam-Rhine Canal.

“In one fluid movement, the cycle route, park, and school are brought together to form a cohesive whole of infrastructure, architecture, and landscape,” said Marijin Schenk of NEXT Architects.

“The double land use with maximum space for greenery makes the Dafne Schipper bridge unique, not just as a bridge but also as a destination.”

The architects worked with engineer Arup and landscape firm Bureau B+B on the 110-metre-long Dafne Schippers Bridge, which was commissioned by the City of Utrecht.

Located between the districts of Oog in Al and Leidsche Rijn, the bridge is expected to be used by more than 7,000 cyclists each day, providing a better connection to the city centre.

The deck of the bridge runs between two asymmetric pylons and is raised nine metres above the water – stretching to 35 metres at its highest point in the centre – before taking a winding course over the top of the brick school building and its playground.

“It seamlessly fits into the densely built environment,” said the architects. “On the Leidsche Rijn side, the pylon becomes a powerful landmark; on the school side, a smaller pylon links up with a row of trees.”

“By connecting the city in a new way, and by designing the bridge, school and park in an integral manner, the bridge becomes more than just a fast route from A to B.”

NEXT Architects is based in Amsterdam. The studio has designed several other bridges, including one with undulating red trails that crosses the Dragon King Harbour Rivee in China and a slatted timber structure in South Holland that doubles as a home for bats.

Project credits:

Design of school and bridge: NEXT Architects, Rudy Uytenhaak Architectenbureau
Design of public space: Bureau B+B stedenbouw en landschapsarchitectuur
Structural design and civil engineering: Arup

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