Trätoppar is our contribution to the parallel assignment organized by the Swedish Transport Administration for a new railway and a road bridge together with adjacent entrance areas at Österdalälven in Oxberg. The competition brief called for unitary design of the two bridges together with the entrance areas within the historical cultural and natural landscape.
Our proposal challenges the traditional way of constructing railway bridges and shows innovative solutions for the use of wood, a sustainable material with strong historical roots to the site. The bearing elements of the bridge create the architectural expression of the railway bridge – a modern tensioning system. All parts have a pragmatic constructive function, and, at the same time, they generate a coherent visual expression revealing the simple way in which the bearing system works. The repetition of four tensioning pyramids creates rhythm in the passage over the water and forms spaces outlined by the wooden domes. The three-dimensionality changes with the viewer’s angle. The wooden tops rise above the tree crowns and signal the bridge from a distance without dominating or competing with the surroundings.
A coherent whole has been designed based on the site’s qualities and incorporating the different characteristics of the railway bridge, the road bridge, and the landscape. The new passage across the river is more than a bridge, it is a way to make the whole place accessible, not least for the active outdoor life. Even though the railway bridge has the boldest signal expression, it is the whole that builds a strong and site-specific identity.
Words from the jury: “Trätoppar” is rooted in Oxberg´s old local tradition of building in wood and, at the same time, the proposal reveals new ways of building railway bridges in wood. The bridges in tar-treated wood become an obvious part of the surrounding pine forest and are a very beautiful and poetic addition to the valley of Österdalälven.”