MVRDV - MVRDV’s Dawn Bridge near Shanghai offers seats to view a historic town and river scenery

MVRDV’s Dawn Bridge near Shanghai offers seats to view a historic town and river scenery


MVRDV won the competition for Dawn Bridge, Shanghai, a new 80m-long dual use crossing conceived as a landmark for fostering daily life and social activities. The bridge is located near the historical town of Zhujiajiao, between the famous Fangsheng Bridge and the low-key Qingpu Road Bridge. Dawn Bridge establishes a new pedestrian and car connection between the modern housing developments along the Dianpu river and next to Zhujiajiao Old Town. The 24m-wide bridge signals to the future of the area, with a design that adds value to its surrounding, fostering social activities at the riverfront. Completion is anticipated for 2019.

Dawn Bridge lies between new residential developments at the edge of Zhujiajiao and close to the historical crossing of Fangsheng Bridge, a landmark since 1571. The bridge establishes a relationship with the delicate surrounding by absorbing its contextual palette of colours and materials. Gray roofs are recalled by the grey asphalt, whilst white walls are expressed with the prominent white bridge structure. The reddish wood used in houses nearby inspires the pedestrian deck and landings, whilst the green water and nature appear in the form of trees on top of the deck similar to those currently found at the Fangsheng Bridge.

“The vertical alignment of Dawn Bridge defines a sense of lightness and elegance, and our aim was to provide a graceful low curve above the river that also blends with the landscape”, says Wenchian Shi, Partner at MVRDV. “Beyond blending, we wanted to create a bridge that invites public life over and around it and that is accessible to all people whether on foot or on wheels.”

MVRDV’s design responds to constraints both in construction area and clearance envelope and addresses the challenge of building the shortest bridge with an accommodating slope. In addition, the bridge proposes a solution to favour the view over the old town of Zhujiajiao and maximize the space available for pedestrians. To minimize the noise and air pollution from the road on the bridge, the middle truss is cladded and covered by a new structure: a flat deck which morphs into a tridimensional structure and becomes a tribune for meetings, gatherings and to experience views of the Dianpu river and the old town.

The landings become tribunes that allow pedestrians to cross on top and also a place for observing and reaching the water. The bridge design integrates it to the river and to the network of canals that form and identify Zhujiajiao, stimulating activities along the river banks. The design considers the active river bed, about 80m wide, leaving it completely free from permanent intermediate piers and other obstacles to its flow. In addition to reducing the chances of flooding, it provides smooth and straight navigation along the river.

MVRDV won the competition-winning design selected by Zhujiajiao Municipality and the completion date is anticipated for 2019.