ZJA Zwarts & Jansma Architects has won the Dutch Steel Award 2018 for Infrastructure with the design of the railway bridge at Muiderberg in the Netherlands. The Dutch Steel Award, the biennial award for inspiring steel applications in construction projects, was awarded on October 3rd during the Steel Construction Day at Tata Steel in Velsen Noord, the Netherlands.

The railway bridge Muiderberg is the largest arched railway bridge in the Netherlands and one of the largest in Europe. Furthermore, the bridge is the largest and heaviest object ever transported in the Netherlands by road and the first railway bridge to be constructed in S640 high strength steel. The bridge spans the new A1 motorway with 16 lanes without any intermediate support. The design assignment was to achieve a slender, slim, airy-looking bridge whose color and design would not attract too much attention.

Extraordinary integrated and well thought-out design
The jury about the bridge: "The collaboration between architect, structural engineer and steel contractor has led to an extraordinary integrated and well thought-out design for all end users. At the same time, the arch bridge is striking and modest due to its reserved detailing and sleek design. By crossing the multiple traffic lanes in one go without obstructive columns, the safety is increased and the view and transparency are a pleasure. "

The arch versus the deck
In the architectural design, ZJA has made a visible distinction between the two main components of the bridge: the arch versus the deck. The arches determine the visual image from afar; the deck is subordinate to that. The chosen architectural design, with a clear distinction in color between the arches and the main beam only draws attention to the arch at first. Only in the second instance, while approaching, attention shifts to the slender deck between the arches. The arch and diagonals of the bridge have a light color, which somewhat fades against the grey Dutch skies. The tubular hangers purposely have a dark color, which somewhat fades against the surrounding colors.

Principal: The Dutch Road and Transport Authority
Architect: ZJA Zwarts & Jansma Architects
Structural engineer: Iv-Infra
Contractor: SAAone
Steel contractor: Victor Buyck

Photographs: Dutch Road Movies, Vliegveld Hilversum, Rijkswaterstaat