A moveable footbridge for Bilbao

schlaich bergermann partner is pleased to present its winning design for a moveable pedestrian and cycle bridge across the Estuary of Bilbao. Together with CALTER ingeniería, we won the competition for a new bridge connecting the districts of Barakaldo and Erandio in the metropolitan area of Bilbao, Basque Country.

Two steel sails form the characteristic feature of the slender, elegant bridge, with the mechanisms for the structure’s opening integrated in the piers. The sails pick up on the industrial and maritime geometries of the surrounding buildings, creating a new visual landmark on the horizon. In the center, the moveable bridge sections, approx. 50 m in length, rotate 90° in opposite directions, allowing passage for larger ships.

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The structure blends in well with its surroundings and will significantly shorten the route between the two communities of Erandio and Barakaldo. Over a length of 430 m, the slightly curved bridge connects the bike path network on the west bank with the bike and pedestrian boulevard on the east side. In addition, stairways lead up to the bridge on each side of the river, shortening the distance for the pedestrians in a hurry.

A gentle lighting concept addresses both aesthetic and functional aspects for the bridge at night. All lighting elements are aligned along the longitudinal axis of the bridge and increase in luminosity towards the center of the bridge. In the middle, the two “steel-sails” are being illuminated, making the structure visible to approaching boats even from a distance. The lighting concept emphasizes the maritime character of the design and provides a safe crossing and stay on the bridge even in the dark.