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Reflecting Belgium’s communities.

Asiat-Darse Bridge.

This new, sculptural footbridge – which is designed by architect Counterspace Studio, with support from the City of Vilvoorde and the local cultural organisation Horst Arts & Music – draws conceptually from the complex relationships of the region’s migrant communities.

AKT II has supported the architect Counterspace Studio with the design of this new footbridge which has now been selected, through an international competition, for realisation on the outskirts of Brussels. The bridge, which is located within the municipality of Vilvoorde, spans for 35 metres over the regional Senne canal.

Conceptually, the design pays homage to the Congolese agriculturist Paul Panda Farnana, who historically lived locally; the new bridge – which is conceived as a series of boats tied together – draws inspiration from the water architectures of the Congo river, where numerous dugout canoes provide a floating platform for the local community to socialise and trade.

The new Asiat-Darse Bridge accordingly provides a gathering place for travellers, commuters and visitors, with each of its boat-like forms additionally functioning as a planter to showcase species that were explored through Farnana’s research. A traditional, flat walkway then passes through this entire composition to provide a fully accessible crossing for pedestrians and cyclists.

AKT II’s design director Kieron Taylor says: “Counterspace Studio’s design intersects artistically through culture and history; the new bridge allows people to enjoy the canal’s modern-day scenery while at the same time discovering Vilvoorde’s past. Altogether, the new Asiat-Darse Bridge shows that a crossing, rather than just being a means of travel, can moreover reflect a journey between two points in time.”