Kaufer Wünschmann Architekten
The Fifth Design Institute of Sichuan Architectural Design and Research Institute Co., Ltd.
Sichuan Southwest Jiaoda Civil Engineering Design Co., Ltd.
Chengdu GTJS Investment Group Construction Development Co., Ltd.
The bridge is designed to offer an attractive car-free pathway over the Fu Hé river which is meandering from north to south through Chengdu. Fed by several tributaries the river grows on a width of approx. 100m in southern Chengdu where the INFINTE LOOP is positioned. Together with the Kehua south road which runs parallel to the river both elements appear as wide barrier between the adjacent districts. By designing the bridge as three dimensional landscape element instead of a simple connection from A to B the bridge functions as extension of the cityscape mitigating the barrier effect. The INFINTE LOOP provides a quality of stay – a recreation area for the city.
Positioned in prominent location close to the Century City New International Conference & Exhibition Center (CCNICEC) in the district of Wuhou it connects ample residential areas with mixed use districts. By the infrastructurally important position the bridge can be seen as symbol for a turnaround in transportation. Being reserved for green means of transport like bicycles or E-bikes and for walking by foot – strong incentives for a sustainable mobility are set.
Whereas the surrounding bridges for car traffic are cable bridges with vertical elements the INFINITY LOOP works with a horizontal gesture creating a diverse undulating landscape with valleys and peaks. Combined by a direct route with a total length of approx. 240m two main routes for passing the bridge are provided. Together they create an eight shaped figure as symbol for infinity.
The upper direct route provides a fast barrier-free circulation for pedestrians and cyclists between the opposed districts of the river. The route is zoned by a half-sided roof creating a comfortable partly enclosed area which guides views down the river and filters the downtown perception in direction north. The area below the roof is intended for slow activities with seating areas surrounded by potted plants which could be implemented and rearranged seasonally.
The second route creates a landscape which is winding around the direct route on different levels – down towards the surface of the water and up again – creating a high variety of viewpoints to witness the river as well as the surrounding city. It draws the walker’s attention to the current place and time moment – “being here, now” and refers by this gesture to the tradition of Zig Zag bridges mainly known from Asian gardens. Main feature is the south-facing seating landscape close to water level. It offers a pleasant place to gather and relax.
Both routes are connected via shortcuts so that people have multiple options of passing the bridge with ample opportunity to rest and gaze over the city- and riverscape.
The high variety of routes entailing parts with inclinations make the INFINTE LOOP also interesting as sports ground e.g. as running track with a degree of difficulty having stairs, slopes and horizontal passages for a well-balanced training.
This tangible continuously changing geometry is inspired by the Möbius strip, a continuous surface with only one side and only one boundary creating an endless loop. By developing this mathematically describable structure further the main conceptual, functional and structural principals of the bridge were derived.
The upper direct route is constructed as 240m long shallow arc being supported in reasonable distances to reduce span and allow for an overall slim construction. The main load-bearing structure is a v-shaped element evolving out of the arc above running into the route below. It is here, at the projected intersection of both routes where the main loads are bundled.
The undulating route is composed out of two arcs providing minimal spans and simultaneously ensuring an ideal distribution of forces. Quite naturally the seating landscape is spanned in between these arcs. Thus an overall synchronized structure is developed providing for a maximum slim and material efficient construction.
The INFINITE LOOP was the winning scheme out of a competition decided in October 2015. After a revision phase until mid of November 2015 the plans were delivered for the construction phase.
The INFINTE LOOP was realized in a typical “design and build” process where the design was created in collaboration of TOM WÜNSCHMANN architecture & design and ac.ka – architektur together with Buschmeyer+Cai in agreement with the Sichuan Architectural Design and Research Institute.
The Fifth Design Institute of Sichuan Architectural Design and Research Institute Co., Ltd together with Chengdu Construction Engineering Group Co., Ltd. were responsible for the construction phase.