The Infinite Bridge is a sculpture by danish architect studio Gjøde & Povlsgaard Arkitekter built and exhibited in connection with the international biennale, Sculpture by the Sea 2015, that takes place in the scenic coastal landscape surrounding the city of Aarhus.
“We have created a sculpture that is all about experiencing the surroundings and becoming aware of the relation between the city and the magnificent landscape of the bay. Walking on the bridge you experience the changing landscape as an endless panoramic composition and at the same time you enter a space of social interaction with other people experiencing the same panorama,” says Johan Gjøde, partner and co-founder of Gjøde & Povlsgaard Arkitekter.
The Infinite Bridge has a diameter of 60 meters and is positioned half on the beach and half in the sea. It consists of 60 identical wooden elements placed on steel pillars housed about two meters into the sea floor. The deck of the bridge rises between one and two meters above the water surface depending on the tide. The curvature of the bridge follows the contours of the landscape as it sits at the mouth of a small river valley extending into the forest from the beach.
In addition to unfolding the seaside panorama The Infinite Bridge establishes a connection between the present and the history of the specific site, as it reconnects the beach to a long forgotten viewpoint at sea.
“The bridge touches the landing dock of a previous pier located at the site where people used to arrive in steamboats from the city to relax and enjoy themselves. The historic Varna Pavilion that sits on the hillside above the beach was a popular destination in the scenic landscape with its terraces, restaurant and dancehall. Situated on the edge of the forest facing the sea the pavilion was meant to be experienced from the landing dock of the pier that no longer exists. The Infinite Bridge reestablishes this historic connection and offers a new perspective on the relation between the city and the surrounding landscape,” says Niels Povlsgaard, partner and co-founder of Gjøde & Povlsgaard Arkitekter.
As a young practice, Gjøde & Povlsgaard Arkitekter reaches out in their approach to making a difference with their projects.
“The philosophy behind our architect practice is to start projects on our own. Rather than waiting for a project to come about, we invent the project and get in touch with people making the decisions. In this context Sculpture by the Sea was a unique opportunity to work within the coastal protection zone of Denmark and install The Infinite Bridge in an otherwise inaccessible area,” says Johan Gjøde.
When commenting on the dividing line between art and architecture, Gjøde & Povlsgaard are very clear about their role. They are vastly experienced in designing exhibition spaces and working on projects that call for the spatial potential of a given location to be explored.
“We have worked quite a bit in the realm of art and architecture. Most of the time it is about taking a step back and allowing the art to come into its own. In these situations, you have to create a setting where people can meet and contemplate the individual art pieces in a new light. As we did with The Infinite Bridge, we have tried to create a setting where you can experience the landscape surrounding the city. Actually, it is nature, the city’s skyline, the harbor and the relationship to the water that is the true art piece,” says Johan Gjøde.