David Airey is an independent graphic designer working with companies of all sizes since 2005.

Moses bridge at Fort de Roovere

This sunken bridge at Netherlands’ Fort de Roovere has been getting a lot of press recently.

Sunken foot bridge

Sunken foot bridge

Sunken foot bridge

Sunken foot bridge

“The West Brabant Water Line is a defense-line consisting of a series of fortresses and cities with inundation areas in the south-west of the Netherlands. It dates from the 17th century but fell into disrepair in the 19th century. When the water line was finally restored, an access bridge across the the moat of one of the fortresses, Fort de Roovere, was needed. This fort now has a new, recreational function and lies on several routes for cycling and hiking.

“It is, of course, highly improper to build bridges across the moats of defense works, especially on the side of the fortress the enemy was expected to appear on. That’s why we designed an invisible bridge. Its construction is entirely made of wood, waterproofed with EPDM foil. The bridge lies like a trench in the fortress and the moat, shaped to blend in with the outlines of the landscape.

“The bridge can’t be seen from a distance because the ground and the water come all the way up to its edge. When you get closer, the fortress opens up to you through a narrow trench. You can then walk up to its gates like Moses on the water.”

Quoted from ArchDaily.

Sunken foot bridge

Sunken foot bridge

Sunken foot bridge

Sunken foot bridge

Sunken foot bridge

Sunken foot bridge

Great. Love it. But, and as much as I hate criticism of design that I find intriguing, I can’t help wondering how often this happens.

Sunken foot bridge
Fort de Roovere image credit

Sunken foot bridge
Fort de Roovere image credit

Architects: Ro&Ad Architects
Location: Halsteren, The Netherlands
Client: Municipality of Bergen op Zoom

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15 appreciated comments about “Moses bridge at Fort de Roovere”

  1. This is incredible. It’s interesting that they made it that way, but it makes sense for what they were trying to achieve. Making the fort accessible to public viewing is pretty educational as well. But just how it lays, and they psychodelic feature of just walking through it like you’re under water is just… wow. These guys did a great job. Though, my thoughts are now on what the soldiers of the past, the original occupants of the fort, would think. They’d probably have a major cow.

  2. OMG How awesome! Oh to have this designers brain! Great idea! Thanks for some inspiration David! Now to figure out how to apply this concept to packaging design. Hmmmmmmmmm This is going to be fun!

  3. Wow that bridge looks amazing. Of course it will flood easily though. Still, it must be a weird feeling walking across it knowing there are some many millions of gallons of water each side of you….

  4. Simply amazing…

    I would love to see the same concept made out of glass, would take the experience to a whole new level. And to combat the flooding, would be awesome if the bridge was automated to rise with the water level.

    In a perfect world, I guess… :)

  5. What an excellent find David – a historical yet modern post, great stuff.

    There is nothing as contemporary as that over here, we just have standard bridges – but that is a really modern idea.

  6. While I was marveling at such innovation – I *also* kept wondering how often it floods. I think crossing it, would definitely make me shift UP a gear if I were out jogging…just in case!

  7. I was shocked when I saw it filled with water, then loved the look of the image. There in the distance are several figures… staring with nowhere to go, but back. Very thought provoking and really tapped into my creative side in a weird and unexpected way. It seems to have breathed a fresh perspective into my next project!

  8. You’d really need to spend a lot more money to allow the bridge to rise and fall with the waterline, or to incorporate a pump system to remove overflowing water. That said, I love the concept and look of it. A glass version would be even more awesome!

  9. Maybe you dont need to raise the entire bridge, just have a movable extension on the sides that will raise with the water level.

  10. What a concept! Simply brilliant. And to think that it is made of treated wood not to rot and perish! Though it may have been good in glass as some have said, I feel that wood makes it unique and so close to nature.

    I liked Victor’s suggestion of just having movable extensions on the sides which could rise with the water level to prevent flooding of the bridge. Congratulations to the designers and builders of the Moses Bridge!

  11. The one query I have is who paid for this? If I was paying for it, I’d have wanted a floating bridge.

  12. Rather than movable extensions or a floating bridge, why not a standpipe that would drain away excess water in the moat before it flooded the bridge. Cheap & effective!

  13. The bottommost photo is of the bridge before the sides along the waterbed were put on. You can tell because, on the opposite bank, the stair railings that slope downward at the bottom of the hill drop off in a downward direction rather than starting the beginning of the horizontal planks comprising the top of the railings of the bridge. There’s nothing there yet to hold back the water. Just compare it to the picture directly above it and look carefully at where the railings start at the bottom of the stairs. It makes me wonder if the next to last photo was taken before they’d had a chance to pump all the water out after building the bridge in the first place. The grass still hasn’t grown back on either side of the staircase as it has in other pictures. Perhaps it’s never unintentionally flooded at all.

  14. Actually–eh, maybe I’m wrong.

  15. What type of bridge is it? Beam, suspension…

Anything to add?

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