Decoding Design

Walking through water on the Moses Bridge

Posting in Architecture

In the Netherlands, a wooden bridge offers a close up view of the water in a moat.

Instead of spanning over water, the Moses Bridge cuts a path through the water of a moat in the Netherlands.

Designed by architecture firm Ro&Ad, the Moses Bridge provides access to the Fort de Roovere. The fort is part of the West Brabant Water Line, an early 17th century Dutch defensive line of fortresses and inundation areas that could be flooded with water. After a period of neglect and deterioration in the 19th century, the Water Line was recently restored. Fort de Roovere, the largest of the forts, required an access path across its moat as part of the restorations.

The designers originally thought of the project as a discreet, almost invisible bridge, since building a bridge across a defensive moat, especially from the enemy side, would be improper.

The walkway is carved into the landscape and steps lead down into the moat, providing a dramatic, slightly surreal experience. The tops of the walls lie almost flush with the water, allowing passersby to skim the top of the water with their hands. The walls were built with Accoya (a very durable softwood hybrid) sheet piling and lined with an EPDM foil waterproofing. A drainage system in the center of the path allows for overflow when water levels rise.

Fort de Roovere is now a recreational area for the public.

Images: courtesy Ro&Ad

Sun Kim

Contributing Editor

Contributing Editor Sun Joo Kim is an architect and creative consultant based in Boston. Her projects include design and master planning of museums, public institutions, hospitals, and university buildings across the U.S. She holds a degree from Carnegie Mellon University and is a member of the U.S. Green Building Council. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure