The planned 7th Bridge crossing Dubai Creek will help to reduce traffic congestion in Dubai. The competition entry by architects ZJA for this conspicuous area proposes an eye-catching bridge which combines high-tech solutions with traditional elements.

‘Lateen’ stands out as a technically and visually striking bridge. It serves as a landmark that has a dramatic visual presence on the creek. At the same time it responds to the landscape context on both sides of the creek. Its superb and advanced construction turns over a new leaf in bridge engineering.

At first sight one associates ‘Lateen’ with a sailing vessel, moving fast from east to west, connecting the shores of Dubai Creek. The bridges’ shape is indeed derived from the lateen, a triangular sail which was invented in the Middle East somewhere after the 7th century. It has since been widely used in the Mediterranean Sea, the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean, among others on the dhows. The slender deck of the bridge, the tower shooting into the sky, and the thin diagonal cables all contribute to the impression of lightness and speed.

The asymmetric combination of a self-anchored suspension and a cable-stayed bridge allows us to create a beautiful construction which bridges a wide span without supports. This construction is quite exceptional: the cables are suspended harp-like on the main cable and not, as usual, on the tower.

Organisation and design of the infrastructural connections are based on the idea of a tree: the various routes are merging like roots in a trunk – the bridge itself - and disperse again on the other shore like branches of a crown. That way it becomes possible for cars and pedestrians to get onto and leave the bridge on several different points, as close to their destination as possible.

So-called transition rooms accent the transition of pedestrians from pathways at-grade to the elevated path, and from the closed urban space to the open realm of the bridge. Via steps and ramps one reaches the ground of the secluded and tranquil transition room that then leads underground onto the bridge.

Lines, alongside which small water grooves are placed, connect the transition rooms and the circular water elements. These lines follow the plan for the projected residential area. On the other side they can easily be included in new projects.

In collaboration with Okra landscape architects and IV-Infra