Hofdabakka Highway Interchange

A project for a highway interchange between a secondary road and a main road into Reykjavík. An architecture informed by the physical constraints of vehicular control and the engineering of efficiently bridging a four-lane highway.

The principal challenge was to engage an object of huge scale into its immediate surroundings and the landscape of the horizon. This task was further embellished by the varying perceptions of the object from fast-moving and stationary cars, as well as pedestrians and the occupants of the neighbouring buildings.

Asymmetric flank-wall elements acknowledge the forces existent in the gently sloping site, hopefully capturing a natural balance which is reinforced by selected tree and shrub species. By contrast the walls are finished in hard, shiny-black synthetic flint which sets a stage for multi-coloured cars rushing past the festive steel pendulum columns. A hardwood handrail of tree-trunk proportions gives the bridge-crossing pedestrians warmth and a sense of security in this predominately machine-friendly environment.

The structural system is a complex thin slab/frame system of post-tensioned concrete with high strength steel central columns. The columns have three webs which can rotate to diminish the effects of vehicular impact. The total area of bridge slab is approximately 1840m2, the span is 37m and the width varies from 35 - 60m.

Client : City Engineer of Reykjavík / Public Roads Administration
Structural Engineers : Línuhönnun
Landscape architects : Landslagsarkitekar

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