OFFICE 23 — Bridge. Gent, Belgium
More than simply a connection from A to B, this bridge, located in the center of Ghent, connects the bank of the Ketelvest canal with the terrace behind the Handelsbeurs concert hall to create an urban space.
Originally commissioned to improve delivery and fire egress, the bridge provides a new entrance and perspective toward the concert hall. The difference in height between its two ends is explicitly recognised by the design of the bridge. The horizontal silhouette of the bridge is defined by the balustrades. They are made of a vertical latticework of Azobe wood, so that from the Ketelvest and the nearby bridges it appears transparent rather than massive. However, if one stands immediately beside the bridge, the side walls appear solid. The bridge becomes a place in itself, an enclosed space that, through its trapezoidal form, lengthens or foreshortens the perspective, depending on which side it is being viewed. Anyone crossing the bridge is absorbed into the optical illusion created by the railings and deck.