Bridging the atrium of the BP office

by Edwin Larkens on April 11, 2011

The imaginary and the real; designing and building the BP office – [part 4]

Two bridges cut through the space of the atrium of the BP office building to connect the office floors on the two sides. The long span of more than 15 meters required a bridge with a strong and light structure. At first we designed a steel space frame structure, which was strong and light, but rather complex. Later we discovered that the big span could also be achieved with two 1.5 meter high laminated wooden beams. This was considerably easier to build and created the simple and elegant gesture we were after. The wooden beams also serve as a railing for the bridge. A thin steel structure connects the two beams to increase the stability of these high and narrow elements keeping them in the upright position. From the outside the bridges are abstract grey lines stitching the offices together. Crossing them you notice the rhythm of the more refined steel structure on the inside. A horizontal strip of lighting will be integrated in the steel railing. The beautiful texture of the laminated wood remains visible through the grey paint.

The images show design studies and the built result.


Photos Edwin Larkens, 23-09-2010 and 03-03-2011. The conception date of the design drawings is as indicated.

Building completion: May 2011

Links to other posts in this series about the BP office:

Post 1 – Introduction: the exterior and the interior

Post 2 – The origins of the atrium wall

Post 3 – Geometric puzzles

Post 5 – Making a hill

Post 6 – The office habitat

Post 7 – Reflections and refractions

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

gador April 12, 2011 at 10:57 am



Luna April 14, 2011 at 9:11 am

it is a fantastic job Edwin! I have followed all the posts and I find incredible how you have build BP. Good luck with the rest of the construction! we keep in touch around here. 🙂


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