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Denmark Nixes 'Unique' Harbor Gate

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

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If reports of a cable-stayed bridge suspended 30 stories above the Copenhagen harbor and connected between two skyscrapers sounded too wild to be true, that’s because they were.

During the thid week of November, mutliple media reports indidated that the Copenhagen Gate would be built. It was to feature two mixed-use skyscrapers that would sit across the harbor entrance from each other. But, as its architects noted, it also was to connect the buildings with a bright orange and yellow cable-stayed pedestrian bridge.

Shortly after the premature reports announced that the project would be built in the Danish city, officials announced they had abandoned the plan, according to The Guardian.

Cycling, Safety Concerns

“It would be fun, and a landmark, but it would never be something that would be used every day,” Klaus Bondam, formerly Copenhagen’s mayor for roads and the environment and now the chief executive of Cyklistforbundet, the Danish Cyclists’ Federation, told the news source.

Images: Steven Holl Architects

Copenhagen Gate was to feature two mixed-use skyscrapers that would mark the city's harbor entrance and would have been connected by an orange and yellow cable-stayed pedestrian bridge.

“You wouldn’t want to cycle, get in a lift with your bike, get on your bike and then get in another lift on the other side. It would be quicker to cycle round the harbor.”

But it wasn’t just the glass-enclosed, suspended bridge set to be built more than 200 feet above the water that was concerning. Developers had decided that opening the bridge to the public would be too risky and asked if it could be private, The Guardian reported.

“I could talk all day about the security challenges by having 24-hour public access to a bridge of 65 meters above ground,” Michael Nielsen, a spokesman for the developers, told the Danish newspaper Politiken. “There’s all sorts of things that could happen.”

Arrow to Sea Abandoned

Steven Holl Architects won a competition in 2008 to connect each side of the harbor, according to Gizmodo. The architects said history and geography each played a role in the design and its function.

Architects said the bridge's two angles—an orange span coming from Gate L, and a yellow span starting from Gate M—would join together “like a handshake over the harbor."

Gate Langelinie towner—or Gate L—was designed with geometry shaped like the site on which it was to sit and named for its intended location. Gate Marmormolen tower—or Gate M—was to connect the structures on the city side.

Langelinie Pier was built alongside the harbor in 1894 to help load and unload ships coming into the city, according to VisitCopenhagen. Marmormolen, on the other hand, is a city-side wharf that is still under development but also has its roots in the 19th century, according to several websites.

Critics appear to agree that the most spectacular part of the project was the proposed cable-stayed bridge. The bridge would have made an arrow that pointed out to sea as it spanned across the harbor entrance, Gizmodo noted.

The architects said the two angles—an orange span coming from Gate L, and a yellow span starting from Gate M—join together “like a handshake over the harbor.

“The soffits below the bridges and under the cantilevers pick up the bright colors of the harbor; container orange on the undersides of the Langelinie, bright yellow on the undersides of the Marmormolen,” the architects wrote. “At night the uplights washing the colored aluminum reflect like paintings in the water.”


Tagged categories: Architecture; Awards and honors; Bridges; Building design

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