Since Stockholm is built on 17 different islands, getting around the Swedish capital means crossing a lot of bridges. For people on foot, that’s not always a fun experience. Walking over the Tranebergsbron Bridge, for example, takes 15 minutes on the side of a busy, noisy highway. Now designers from Visiondivision hope to change that by turning one of the arches of the bridge into its own semi-hidden pathway.
A pedestrian path already runs along the water on the islands under the bridge, and the city government recently put out a call for designs that would propose new uses for other space nearby. The huge concrete pillars under the 80-year-old bridge, the city thought, might be transformed into something like climbing walls or an art exhibition space. But the architects from Visiondivision saw an opportunity to do something more.
“We looked at the bridge as a whole and saw that the beautiful concrete vaults were ideal to make a more rapid connection between the two sides, and that connecting these two hotspots would also allow a much greater potential in creating activities,” say Ulf Mejergren and Anders Berensson.
The pillars already have doorways, so creating a path under the bridge could be as simple as building stairs on the archway and adding light and railings. In their proposal, the designers suggest that the stairs could also double as seating for outdoor movies in the summer. The pillars could be used as a temporary art gallery.
The archway is far enough below traffic that it’s also fairly quiet and peaceful–the kind of place where people might want to linger rather than hurrying across.
But while the design could create a new public space, the architects say that one of the biggest benefits would be creating an easier connection between the two islands. “They’re both very pedestrian-friendly, which is strange, since the bridge is far from that,” they say. Using the archway would shorten the walk across the river to only three minutes.
With a better connection, people in the inner part of the city could easily cross to trails for running, and on the other side, residents would have better access to restaurants and cafes.
Since it would be relatively cheap to build, the architects are hoping the new path will actually happen. The city is considering the proposal, along with several others, now.