Lille Langebro Bridge

Lille Langebro by Urban Agency Buro Happold WilkinsonEyre

Lille Langebro cycling and pedestrian bridge

The Lille Langebro bridge is the latest in a series of bike bridges to connect the central city for 1000s of cycling commuters and pedestrians every day. 

‘Lille Langebro’ translates directly to ‘Little Long Bridge’, a bit of a contradiction in terms. The name refers to the neighbouring, old car bridge ‘Langebro’ from the 50s. That bridge was when originally established, considered long compared to the even older ‘Knippelsbro’ to the North.

Not (much of) a shortcut

The bridge demonstrates that one very important aim of the city’s strategy to improve cycling is to separate the bikes from the car traffic. 

The old, bigger bridge carries the main part of motorised traffic crossing the central city. So, Lille Langebro offers a much more pleasant bike ride, distanced from exhausts and noise, and with a generous view of the beautiful waterfront.

On both sides, it connects to smaller streets and redirects cyclists to a less car intensive bike ride. 

The bridge clears enough height for daily, frequent passage of harbour buses and tourist boats. Like almost every other bridge in Copenhagen, it opens for taller vessels, but only occasionally.

The dramatic curves of the bridge certainly add to the visual impression of the bridge and to its general attraction. And not least to its ‘instagrammability’.

This places the bridge in an international trend for cities to have at least one elegant, sculptural ‘piece’. This is sometimes described as a ‘Calatrava’, from the famous, Spanish engineer and architect.

Lille Langebro in comparison

The dynamic and expressive design also places Lille Langebro in contrast to the traditions of Danish architecture and design. Much like The Kissing Bridge. Both ‘demand’ attention with their artful and forceful expressions. They require exposure on Instagram.

Interestingly, both projects have international design teams behind them, whereas Danish architects, Dissing + Weitling designed The Brygge Bridge and The Bicycle Snake Bridge. Both the latter value simplicity, formal constraint and function over elaborately artful expression.

I have no reason to hide my personal preferences for ‘Danish Design’. But more than judging, I find it important and interesting to notice this difference. What it is, that characterises Danish values architecture and design – and why!

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