Transform realisation: Curved line folding bridge
Design of a pedestrian- and bicycle bridge
In 2012, Niels De Temmerman and architect Geert Pauwels (Dial-architects) won the design contest for a pedestrian- and bicycle bridge over the river Zwalm in Munkzwalm, Belgium. Their design was based on the principle of ‘curved line folding’, which is defined as the act of folding a flat sheet of paper along curved fold lines, as opposed to ‘traditional origami’ where only straight lines are used. By means of this principle, a flat piece of material with hardly any stiffness can be transformed into a three-dimensional, folded shape that can bear loads an act as a fully-fledged and functional structure. Accordingly, the geometry of the bridge was derived from folding along two parabolically curved fold lines, thereby obtaining a convex bridge deck flanked by two concave side plates. The outcome, a simple yet elegant design based on an abstract scientific principle, is a good example of the synergy between architectural and structural engineering.
Now, two years later, the bridge has been built and placed by Victor Buyck Steel Construction (W. Hoeckman, G. Hoste, K. Van Hecke). The bridge is made from 10mm thick corten plate steel (weathering steel) and can best be described as an open caisson construction, braced and stiffened by ribs on the inside. It has a span of 10 m, an approximate width of 1,5 m and a total mass of 5000 kg, making it a very lightweight structure. Furthermore, it is remarkable how the geometry of the bridge allowed for a material efficient manufacturing process, as all components have been cut from the same plate of steel, assembled and welded, without additional elements.
This project shows how the know-how and expertise of the TRANSFORM research group can be an added value in real construction projects.