Swedish design studio Urban Nouveau are fighting to save one of Sweden’s oldest pedestrian bridges after their proposal to give it a new lease of life was shot down by local council.
Built between 1917-1925, the Gamla Lidingöbron bridge is currently earmarked to be demolished by Lidingö Municipality, who cite high repair costs as the reason the bridge is in complete disrepair.
Lidingö Municipality plan to have the old bridge replaced with a modernised design by 2021 and shortly after will demolish the current standing structure.
To counteract this, Urban Nouveau has proposed an alternative to demolition that would see the 93-year-old structure converted into 50 premium apartments and a High Line-esque pedestrian park spanning the bridges length.
To make the proposal economically feasible Urban Nouveau are treating the project as a redevelopment of a historic structure opposed to conservation.
Sales from the proposed apartments will fund the restoration of the bridge.
Urban Nouveau’s proposal was recently rejected by council on the grounds of potential “risks and delays” yet the architects claim the revitalisation of the bridge is not only great for public amenity yet also economically stacks up.
“Our architectural understanding of the bridge has inspired us to come up with a plan for saving Gamla Lidingöbron that not only creates a striking public park but in the process also saves the government a minimum of 113 million crowns (€11m),” Urban Nouveau’s chief executive Sara Göransson said.
In a recently published online petition to save the bridge, Urban Nouveau state demolishing the landmark would truly be a step backward, particularly given they have a fully costed and technically sound alternative.
“We can save the bridge and provide a beautiful park for the whole of Stockholm”, the petition says.
Coming out in support of the architects were project engineers Adão da Fonseca and Cecil Balmond who claim the project is both structurally sound and entirely feasible.
“Steel bridges can last forever because any bar or node can be repaired or replaced. Concrete foundations can always be strengthened.” Balmond and Adão said.
Göransson has not shied away from expressing both the social and ecological importance of saving the bridge.
"It is more resourceful to fix the existing structure than to create tonnes of garbage by demolishing it. The bridge contains public memory and is an important symbol for Stockholm." Göransson said.
The Lidingö Municipality has not yet indicated whether it will review Urban Nouveau's proposal a second time.