NEXT Architects has completed an iconic bridge in China: the Lucky Knot. The new pedestrian bridge in the Chinese mega city Changsha was unveiled to the public a few weeks ago. 185 metres long and 24 metres high, the steel bridge fits perfectly in the sequence of extraordinary bridges that characterise NEXT's practice; by explicitly engaging with the local context, the bridge designs offer new perspectives.
In 2013, NEXT was invited to take part in an international competition to design a new bridge to be constructed over the Dragon King Harbour River in Changsha's rapidly developing 'New Lake District.' For this special commission, the teams in Amsterdam and Beijing joined forces to come up with the unique, winning design: the Lucky Knot. Combining the Dutch team's expertise in infrastructure and water management and Chinese team's perseverance and knowledge of the local context was a crucial part of the process.
The bridge is a key project in developing the area's public space, and was designed with recreational, ecological and tourist activities in mind. The bridge connects multiple levels at different heights (the river banks, the road, the higher-placed park as well as the interconnections between them). The final shape of the bridge is the result of - literally and metaphorically - knotting all these routes together. "The shape of the Lucky Knot was inspired by the principle of the Mobius ring, as well as by the Chinese knotting art. In the ancient decorative Chinese folk art, the knot symbolises luck and prosperity," explained John van de Water, partner at NEXT architects Beijing. The bridge owes its imaginative appeal to the combining of tradition and modernity.
The Lucky Knot connects, illuminates and entertains. The bridge offers a spectacular view of the river, Meixi Lake, the city of Changsha and the surrounding mountain range. Thanks to its remarkable LED lightshow, the bridge is set to become a landmark attraction in the light route that traces the path of the Dragon King Harbour River.