Copenhagen’s harbour gets new pedestrian and cycle bridge


Copenhagen’s harbour gets a makeover with new pedestrian and cycle bridge.

Enhancing Copenhagen’s waterfront and its reputation as the world’s best city for cycling, the elegant Lille Langebro cycle and pedestrian bridge is complete. By international architecture practice WilkinsonEyre, working in collaboration with engineers Buro Happold, the 160m opening bridge across Copenhagen’s Inner Harbour was won in competition for Danish client Realdania By & Byg.

Now gifted to the municipality of Copenhagen, the bridge crosses the city harbour next to the new BLOX building which, among other things, is home to the Danish Architecture Center, cafes, a playground and new public spaces, all of which bring life to a part of Copenhagen harbour that has been deserted for decades.

Three key ideas characterise the concept and identity. Firstly the bridge follows an elegant curve in plan which aligns with and evokes the great arc of ramparts and moat of Christianshavn, otherwise not apparent when viewed from the city. Secondly, the structure is arranged as two wings on the sides of the bridge defining a very acute edge dividing light from shade. This edge dips below the decks at the abutments and soars up above the deck at midspan creating a further elegant line. Thirdly, and unexpectedly, the graceful curved profile of the bridge only becomes broken when the two swinging sections open for marine traffic.

Working in collaboration with engineer BuroHappold, WilkinsonEyre’s design for the opening mechanisms are discretely concealed in the piers and opening structure allowing the flowing line of the bridge to run uninterrupted from end-to-end. Split into five spans, with two 28m parts either side of the 48m main section, Lille Langebro has a minimum clear width of 7m, offering a generous 3m wide zone for pedestrians and a 4m wide zone which has been subdivided into two lanes for cyclists.

Simon Roberts, associate director at WilkinsonEyre says: “We are delighted to have worked with Realdania to design a distinctive new bridge for the people of Copenhagen that will improve the urban spaces and promenades along the waterfront and strengthen the cycling culture in the city while also being safe and accessible to everyone.”

Simon Fryer, technical director, Bridges, at BuroHappold said: “This is a landmark project both for Copenhagen and for the wider bridges sector. By combining cutting-edge design with unique technical solutions, it has been possible to minimise the structural depth of the bridge and really push the boundaries of design, affording pedestrians and cyclists views across the harbour. The opening and closing of the bridge acts as a spectacle in itself, bringing a sense of theatre and excitement to the area. We’re delighted to have been able to work closely with Realdania and WilkinsonEyre to make the vision a reality.”