Symbiobridge opening ceremony hails nexus

Spanning 35 metres, the Symbiobridge cycle and footbridge, located south of the TU Delft campus, was officially opened to the public on November 17, 2016.

Connecting Ackerdijkse Bos and TU Delft across the Karitaatmolensloot Symbiobridge is the first of a series of links along the Midden-Delfland recreational route. Stephan Brandligt, Delft city councilman and Delft recreation committee board member welcomed this first physical and conceptual link between the built environment of Delft, the university and the surrounding natural landscape.

Financed by the province of South-Holland, the city of Delft and the Midden-Delfland recreation area, the design was selected from among 24 submissions to a competition in December 2014. Former PhD candidate at the Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment (BK), Rafail Gkaidatzis submitted the winning design which was hailed for its ‘beautiful asymmetric, organic form and innovative materials’. A combination of two words derived from Greek, sym meaning ’together’ and bio meaning ‘living’, both in name and design, Symbiobridge mirrors the interaction between nature and technology. The superstructure of red steel is a striking sight in the surrounding natural landscape; the white base, which doubles as a place for visitors to sit and rest, is an innovative composite of fibre-reinforced plastics.

Following the opening procession across the bridge, Gkaidatzis reflected on the significance of the project. Not only was it his first project of this scope, but it is located in his place of residence. Having entered the design competition just over two years ago, Gkaidatzis revels in the fact that the bridge’s completion took less than two years, a great accomplishment for all involved. Support from the university community and government has ensured that a beautiful work of infrastructure is now located in Delft. South-Holland Provincial representative and chairman of the Integrated Development between Delft and Schiedam (IODS) initiative, Floor Vermeulen, echoed this sentiment noting that typically, “Knowledge from the TU travels across the world, but Symbiobridge kept the knowledge and innovation here at home, at the TU no less!”

Now a lecturer in the Chair of Structural Design, Dr Gkaidatzis encourages fellow architects, engineers and students to ‘follow their dream and to take a chance, even if potential for success seems low’. He remains a proponent of the TU Delft way of working – in a multi-disciplinary manner as a fundamental to realising outputs with which all parties are satisfied.

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