Nieuw Stalberg Bridge


Where arable land used to be the separation between Venlo and the cross-border nature of the Grote Heide, a residential area is now embedded in a new landscape. Valleys have been dug and three residential neighborhoods placed on a pedestal. At the point where this drama of height differences is most strongly felt, the Park Bridge spans over the depth and connects two neighborhoods. In the view line of the former air traffic control tower, this slender sculpture not only bridge the space but also the distance to the history of the place.

Once upon a time, on top of the beach wall of the Maas, Fliegerhorst airport was located here. With three runways the largest Nazi airfield outside Germany. After WWII, the remains of the airbase, with the exception of the air traffic control tower with adjacent command bunker, a guardhouse and a brick hangar, were cleaned up. The air traffic control tower – which is listed – is now used as a climbing wall.

The Park Bridge borrows its visual language from the air traffic control tower – a striking concrete monolith with protruding legs, and adds lightness and direction. With thin lines, the contours of a winged sculture of bridge deck, monumental support column, a south-facing balcony from which one can overlook the valley and a 7 meter high light pole which acts as a landmark in the neighborhood are drawn. A free form in which asymmetries indicate the different directions. A grey skin of concrete with surfaces, folds and gouges that give the bridge a firm and refined appearance. The Park Bridge is a vault and a vertical symbol in one.

The Park Bridge marks the view line that is part of the urban plan of Nieuw Stalberg. The abstracted natural forms of the lay out and the interwoven structure of buildings and greenery are broken once by a straight line. A landscape void in which the Park Bridge makes the connection for pedestrians and forms the marker. From the footpath in the valley three meters below, the railing stands out against the sky. The western and eastern sky of the stellar configuration of 2 March 1945 (Venlo’s liberation day) is being drawn in the carved pattern. Light like a tiara with the planets like colorful gems shimmering in the sun.

Client: Heijmans Vastgoedrealisatie Type: Architectural design Duration: 2007-2008 Status: Completed (2018) Design team: Anne Zekveld (project architect), Piotr Bujas, Michiel Burgerhout, Ruggero Cipolla, Tine Pelzer, Kristine Schroeder