The combination of the architectural office ZJA, OKRA Landscape Architects, IV-Infra and Sjef Jansen Plan ecology -one of five finalists for the ARC International Wildlife Crossing Infrastructure Design competition- designed a system of wild life crossings.

‘Landshape’ is designed to be in tune with the scale of landscape and wilderness around the Vail Pass, Colorado, USA. Landshape a technically innovative construction in a double arch, able to bear the weight of the wild life crossing. This man-made construction is a meshwork of symmetrical and non symmetrical geo contours, derived from the morphology and topology of the area. In this respect the wild life crossing is simultaneously a natural and an artificial form, a ‘landscape’.

The most important organizing element in the design is the continuation of the existing curves in the landscape. The construction consists of three curves. The first arch is the bridge itself. The ground level of the area continuing over the bridge is the second curve. The natural vegetation that covers the deck is the third arch. The wild life is being led to the crossing by a fence made of biodegradable material. Three years on, when the animals are able to find the crossing by themselves, the fence will have morphed into a natural feature.

For the construction of the wild life crossing a flexible mold was developed that enables the production of free forms. A parametric model generates a geometry specific for any given location. The mold consists of a network of cables covered by a textile membrane or fabric. Unique in this construction is that the network of cables can be reused in many different shapes. The textile membrane is specifically cut for every location with a computer aided cutting machine. The fabric is cut to its form, much like that of an air balloon or parachute. This construction to scale is a very innovative method in bridge building.

Information is available in the visitors’ center using up to date means such as apps that show animals in the landscape (live). Accompanied by a guide, visitors can climb a staircase to the top of the structure and watch the wild life crossing from a protected spot. This way visitors can best learn about the area without disturbing the wild life.

ZJA has a wide experience designing wild life crossings. In 2007 the firm designed 9 crossings for the Veluwe National Park, in cooperation with OKRA landscape architects. In 2003 the wild life crossing De Borkeld in Rijssen, designed by ZJA, was put into use.

In cooperation with Diederik Veenendaal ETH Zürich