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The new pedestrian bridge located on the Prinshof campus of the University of Pretoria. The University of Pretoria (UP), Faculty of Health Sciences identified the need for a secure pedestrian bridge link between the campus and two residences with its own security precinct at the top of a hill.


Challenges of the site:

A 10+ meter level difference from the residences down to the main campus.

The bridge had to cross a road with public access between the two security precincts.

A solid rock escarpment, which according to the geotechnical report could only accommodate foundations by blasting which was not an option due to the close proximity of the Steve Biko Hospital.

According to UP policy, any trees had to be retained at all costs.


Material Selection:

It was based on low maintenance and matching the recently completed and adjacent TuksBophelong residence:
A steel structure for the bridge component.
Steel mesh wrapping the bridge in safety, yet allow for transparency.
Red brickwork.
Off shutter concrete


The Structure:

The two-storey concrete stair structure on the campus side acts as a shear wall and main anchor to the bridge and was constructed on-site.

The bridge component was manufactured off-site in two components and was a huge advantage in the programming of the project. The road was closed off to traffic for two days only for the placing in position.


The Design

The decision to provide stairs on the bridge at the edge of the road/escarpment, not only had the advantage of reducing the main stair to only two storeys to climb in one structure and thereby also reducing construction time, but it also provided a kink in the bridge where it approaches the escarpment, thereby visually latching onto the hill between the trees, before coming to rest on the existing walkway.

The view from the site over the city centre is spectacular and the design allows for different angles of the view, notably the vignette at the southern end of the bridge. The angled steel support elements were carried into the main stair façade and expressed as a design element. Openings in the steel mesh cladding allow for continued surprises along the way making the circulation an experience.