Temporary pedestrian bridge

A 60-metre-long structure connecting the cruise passengers on land.

Client: Stadsontwikkeling Rotterdam
Status: completed in 2011

In connection with the building of ‘The Rotterdam’ by OMA on the Wilhelminakade, the mooring place for cruise ships is being moved 120 metres to a point 60 metres outside the passenger terminal at the end of the Wilhelminapier. This created the need for a new, temporary passenger bridge for travellers on board the cruisers to go on land. Commissioned by the Stadsontwikkeling Rotterdam.

“a 60-metre-long construction in tune with the impressive urban architecture of the Kop van Zuid…’’

Our proposal is a 60-metre-long construction whose look and quality are in tune with the impressive urban architecture of the Kop van Zuid and related to the rough character of the Rotterdam docks.

The basis of the bridge consists of a tried and tested steel construction on supports that refer to harbour cranes, and a tubular membrane of transparent canvas. By day the bridge is an eye-catcher, partly as a result of the unusual print on the translucent canvas. By night the construction takes on a completely different guise because the annular LED lighting moves slowly back and forth. Passengers entering Rotterdam will perceive a beautiful first impression of the city.

“Passengers entering Rotterdam will perceive a beautiful first impression of the city.”

The pedestrian bridge is located in a unique spot in Rotterdam, surrounded by architectural monuments. The client was aware of the particular context and thus susceptible to the following argument: “A temporary design on a special place has a similar impact on the city as a permanent design in an everyday place”. With this in mind, we chose strategy as the basis for our design instead of shaping.

By not deviating from an archetypal bridge (truss over multiple supports) we created leeway in the limited budget for three components which distinguish the design: skin, columns and lighting.

In addition, the temporality was used as a starting point for the development of these components. Therefore, the skin is made of sailcloth, the apparent mobility of the structure (port crane) and the lighting refers of a virtual presence.

“The pedestrian bridge is the setting of coming and going.”

The design for the façade is a game with image (raster), text (interaction) and distance (space). For the pedestrians on the other side of the river, the text is easy to read. For the people close to the bridge the text and the grid form an abstract pattern. The pedestrian bridge is the setting of coming and going. Every year, the city welcomes thousands of international cruise passengers. In shades and tints which reflects the air, the city and the water, a text is to discern. ‘Everywhere I am from here’ is the phrase to give a welcome feeling for everyone who arrives or departs. The city says, ‘take me’ and ‘welcome’ simultaneously.


Project name: Temporary pedestrian bridge
Location: Holland Amerika Kade | Rotterdam [the Netherlands]
Length bridge: 62 meter
Dimensions canvas: 605 m2


Design team: Tom van Odijk, David Baars
Graphic on canvas: Ping-Pong Design Rotterdam
Contractor: Birkhoff Staalbouw BV
Transport over water: Bonn & Mees Rotterdam