Brughuis – Bridge House
t is exceptional to design a service building for a bridge that is only used 6 times per year. For approximately 350 days of the year the bridge house is merely transformer station. Instead of viewing this transformer station as an object of technocratic hindrance, a new bridge house can be a remarkable landmark in the Walcheren canal, a folly in the water.
The station surrounding is a place where many things converge, infrastructure as well as building and urbanism. At this moment the identity of the area is diffuse, the canal is broad and the building relatively small scaled, the place is searching for a balance between urbanity and the periphery whilst it lies in the heart of the city Middelburg. The Station Bridge is the entrance to the inner-city from the central public infrastructural knot. Between the intimate inner-city and the widespread surrounding around the station, the Station Bridge is literally and figuratively a hinge. The phenomenon of the pivoting bridge makes the crossing of the van Walcheren canal a special experience.
Looking back over the bridge to the end of the Station street, the ‘Lange Jan’ towers above the inner-city. The elegant 90 meter high tower of the abbey dominates the city centre and stands out because of its green copper roof. To accentuate the Station Bridge as entry to the city of Middelburg, we wish to materialise the bridge house in a material that refers to the tower spires and which is a modern translation of copper roofs that used to cover the traditional bridge service buildings in the first part of the 20th century. Apart from this, the green printed glass is highly suitable for a façade which will receive little maintenance.
The bridge house is a modern addition to the classic Station Bridge. We searched for a formal concept that does not refer to the bridge but rather relates to it. The final form of the bridge house is the result of a number of practical as well as formal considerations.