Architects ZJA joined a prize contest for the design of 60 bridges. In the first round there were over a hundred entries. Five parties were invited for the second round. In the end we just missed the first prize, which was won by a small margin, placing us as runner-up.
When you have to build 60 bridges in a rather small surface area, you have to make well-considered choices. We wanted to use the same construction principle for all the bridges. The construction determines the form of a bridge. We chose the construction which guaranteed a strong relation between the bridges. Sometimes it is suitable to build an extravagant bridge, but when you have to build 60 bridges within a limited area, the bridges have to be modest and neutral. Forms which derive from just one construction principle live up to these standards.
We were also in favour of a very thin construction. As Buckminster Fuller said: 'the quality of architecture is inversely proportional to its weight'.
The bridges that we have to build here are in fact no more than, constructively speaking, boards over water. We designed a 'board' with a length of 16.4 metres and a width of 3 metres, resting on six points of support. Because of the many points of support the board can be very thin. A construction height of 250 mm proved to be possible.
The thin boards are prefabricated, and made of concrete. The support is made of steel. We are convinced that we have designed a very elegant construction (see drawing), which is not obtrusive, and which can quite easily be copied sixty times. However, there will be small variations in the bridges. The colour of the roadway for example will be adapted to its function; highways will be black, bicycles paths red and footpaths, just like the adjoining footpaths, grey. Also, we have drawn two fences, one made of steel wire, and one made of glass.