The newly opened Lille Langebro bridge meets the eye with a strikingly fluid presence. Rising and twisting its way across the Inner Harbour, the 160-metre span provides a vital new connection through the heart of Copenhagen for cyclists and pedestrians.
Indeed, the bridge makes for an organic addition to the centuries-old urban fabric and its contemporary alterations. Extending seamlessly to meet Vester Volgade, a relatively straight street on the other side of the harbour, Lille Langebro’s unapologetically contemporary aesthetic creates a dialogue with the commanding BLOX complex – designed by OMA – that sits at its western foot.
The structure is composed of five spans, which were fabricated in Rotterdam and shipped to Copenhagen in a massive barge. They were lowered by crane into position atop the pier supports, which rise out of the water.
Painted off-white, the steelwork framing the bridge resolves at sharp and elegant points that accentuate the smooth, uninterrupted curvature. Sitting atop its grey-painted piers, the light and graceful bridge seems to float almost weightlessly.
The structure’s playful kinetic energy – which almost tempts cyclists to accelerate across – and aesthetic unity belie its technical complexity: The bridge actually opens at the centre to accommodate larger vessels into the harbour. This choreography is dramatic and slightly surprising; the middle spans move perpendicular to their neighbours, deconstructing the fluid whole into its components.
Opened to the public in mid-August, Lille Langebro has proven instantly popular. In the evening, a soft lighting program emanates from the handrails, creating a clearer path and highlighting Lille Langebro’s sculptural presence from afar. In a city of modernist architectural icons, here’s another subtle standout.
Adding a pedestrian and cyclist route through the heart of Copenhagen, the sculptural new bridge fits seamlessly into its urban context.