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Prinsens Bro – a reinterpretation of the historic bridge


Prinsens Bro near Christiansborg Palace in central Copenhagen was originally built in 1682. The existing bridge from 1926 was in such a poor state of repair that saving it would have been an exercise in futility.  Now, the bridge to the islet of Slotsholmen has reopened in a new and stronger version. With greater carrying capacity and improved safety, the newly constructed bridge will serve all types of traffic for many years to come.

As much as possible from the historic bridge is preserved on the newly constructed bridge. The elements that were not possible to save has been reinterpreted and the bridge and appears both classical and modern.

The existing bridge piers and original lamp posts have been preserved and reused for the new bridge. The bridge deck has been replaced by a new concrete deck cast in situ, and the new railings have been produced from bent steel. They were designed as a reinterpretation of the pointed arch motif which was characteristic of the original, preservation-worthy wrought iron railings. The new railings are made up of two rows of slender curved balusters, the weave of the balusters creating a play of light and shade as you move across the bridge.

The railings have been raised 25 cm to comply with current legislative requirements. The same goes for the lamp posts, maintaining the original balanced proportions between the lamp posts and the railings. Both elements have been given the same surface treatment whereby they appear as an integrated whole.

As the bridge is close to Christiansborg Palace which often sees events with large crowds, a key design parameter was that the railings had to be strong to be able to absorb major impacts. The two rows of balusters provide the necessary strength and retain the historical link to the 1926 bridge.

Gottlieb Paludan Architects designed the bridge as sub-adviser to SWECO; the client was the City of Copenhagen.