Location: Berlin
Date: 2014-2021
Client: Berliner Senat
Status: Construction
Size: 78m length
Credits: ACME (Sarah Blahut, Nicholas Channon, Cristian Gheorghe, Vera Landshuter, Friedrich Ludewig, Sarah Norman, Heidrun Schuhmann).
CONSULTANTS COMPETITION: AKT II, London (structural engineer), Höhler + Partner, Aachen (quantity surveyor), SEAM, London (lighting design), Relais Landschaftsarchitekten (landscape architect); CONSULTANTS EXECUTION: Schüßler Plan, Berlin (structural engineer), LICHTKUNSTLICHT, Berlin (lighting design), BÖGER+JÄCKLE Ingenieure (Construction supervision)
Berlin expanded from a town into a metropolis during the industrial revolution, and the area north of the Reichstag became the location for two of Berlin’s main train stations, for trains to Hamburg (1840) and Lehrte (1868). The Berlin-Spandau Ship Canal was built in 1859 to provide a quicker route to the river Spree. The entire area remained dominated by rail and shipping infrastructure until 1943, when the area was heavily bombed. In 1961, the area got separated by the Berlin Wall, which ran along the canal, and several east German citizens were killed in subsequent years trying to cross the wall and swim across the canal. 

Since 2014, a masterplan for the area has come into operation, and the first buildings of the new Europacity have been completed. Our proposal won an international competition for the design of two pedestrian and cycling bridges to connect the new masterplan area to the old East Berlin context. The bridges are designed to appear as minimal and effortless as possible using the balustrades as their structure. Both sides of the balustrades are perforated by an ornamental pattern of laser cut openings carefully designed to reflect the structural requirements. No obstruction of the waterway was permitted, and the required shipping clearance imposed severe access constraints requiring a clear span of 58m. A 1:1 mock-up has been built to test the quality of the laser cuts, coating and linear LED lighting concealed in the balustrade handrails. The completion is anticipated for the end of 2020.