the bicycle snake

The Bicycle Snake


København, Danmark
2010 - 2014

Konkurrence: 2010, 1. præmie
Udført 2014

Længde: 230 m
Bredde: 4,6 m
Højdeforskel mellem Havneholmen og Fisketorvets hovedindgang: 5,5 m
Afstand mellem søjler: 17 m

Bygherre: Københavns kommune
Arkitekt: DISSING+WEITLING architecture
Landskab: Marianne Levinsen Landskab
Ingeniør: Rambøll (DK)
Entreprenør: MT Højgaard (DK)
Lysdesign: lightconstructor (DK)

Visualiseringer: DISSING+WEITLING architecture

Ursula Bach
Ole Malling
Rasmus Hjortshøj - COAST Studio


Den Europæiske Pris for Offentlige Byrum - København, 2016
Graphite Pencil ved D&AD Awards, 2015
1. præmien ved A+ Awards "Highways & Bridges", 2015
Store Arne prisen, 2015
WAN Transport Award, 2014
2. præmie ved City.People.Light.Awards, 2014
Skub-op prisen, 2013 


The Bicycle Snake
Bicycle Bridge
Copenhagen, Denmark
2010 - 2014

Competition: 2010, 1st prize
Completed 2014

Length: 230 m
Width: 4.6 m
Height difference between Havneholmen and Fisketorvet's main entrance: 5.5 m
Column distance: 17 m

Client: The City of Copenhagen
Architect: DISSING+WEITLING architecture
Landscape: Marianne Levinsen Landskab
Engineer: Rambøll (DK)
Contractor: MT Højgaard (DK)
Light Design: lightconstructor (DK)

Renderings: DISSING+WEITLING architecture

Ursula Bach
Ole Malling
Rasmus Hjortshøj - COAST Studio


Special Recognition - The City of Copenhagen, 2016
The Graphite Pencil at the D&AD Awards, 2015
1st prize at A+ Awards "Highways & Bridges", 2015
Big Arne Award, 2015  
WAN Transport Award, 2014
2nd prize at the City.People.Light.Awards, 2014
The "Raise the Bar" award, 2013


Cykelslangen i København er med sin lette elegance, harmoniske flow og urbane tilpasning både blevet et ikon for København som førende cykelby og et ikon for Københavns høje bymæssige kvalitet som sådan.

Cykelslangen er en prisbelønnet cykelbro ved Fisketorvet i København. Den elegante bros slyngede forløb lader cyklister svæve over havnevand og kajkanter og tilfører området et spændende element, der løfter byrummets kvalitet. Svævende i første sals højde snor broen sig elegant ind og ud mellem omgivende bygninger, og forbinder Dybbølsbro med Bryggebroen, som også er tegnet af Dissing+Weitling. Cykelslangen har opnået stor international opmærksomhed og været med til at sætte streg under København som en af verdens bedste cykelbyer.

Cykelslangen bugter sig i et harmonisk flow fra Fisketorvet, ind mellem Kalvebod Brygges bygninger og ud til havnebassinet. Broen svæver seks til syv meter over havneforløb og kajkanter, og giver således rum til fodgængerne nedenunder, der nu frit kan færdes, hvor de før måtte vige for cyklister. Stien i første sals højde giver samtidig cyklisterne en oplevelsesrig tur. Der er dagligt omkring 12.500 cyklister, der krydser Cykelslangen, Bryggebroen og området ved Fisketorvet.

Konstruktionen er en variation over Bryggebroen med en central, lukket ståldrager - den bærende rygrad - hvorfra dækket til kørebanen udkrages til hver side. Cykelslangen er opført i stål, som er med til at give den sit elegante og slanke udtryk. Om natten er broens indbyggede belysning med til at gøre broen sikker og tryg at færdes på, og skaber samtidig et smukt visuelt element i natten.

Cykelslangen har høstet enorm opmærksomhed i anerkendte danske og internationale medier, hvor alverdens arkitekturblogs og blandt andet Politiken, Berligske, BBC, Wired og El Pais har skrevet yderst positive vendinger om broen. The Guardian’s overskrift lød “Why can’t all cities have bike bridges like Copenhagen’s new Cycle Snake?”.

Cykelslangen var udstillet på Venedig Biennalen 2016, og har høstet en lang række priser, blandt andet Den Europæiske Pris for Offentlige Byrum - “København” (2016), Graphite Pencil ved D&AD Awards (2015), Arkitektforeningens Store Arne (2015), førstepræmie ved A+ Awards, “Highways & Bridges” (2015) og en Førstepræmie ved den prestigefulde WAN Transport Award (2014).


The Bicycle Snake

With the transition from commercial harbour activities to residences and retail the Inner Harbour of Copenhagen has undergone a pronounced transformation. As part of this transformation, the first stage was a foot- and bicycle connection across the Inner Harbour, Bryggebroen (The Quay Bridge) by DISSSING+WEITLING architecture, which was opened in 2006 . The first new crossing of the harbour in 50 years. The bridge became a tremendous success not only as a connection between two parts of the city, but also simply as a way to enjoy the views of the harbour, the sensation of being above water. However, heading to or from Bryggebroen on the eastern side of the Harbour, cyclists had to carry their bikes down or up a full flight of stairs at one end of the quayside.

Cykelslangen, or the ”The Bicycle Snake”, a 230-metre long sky bridge which offers a short cut to Bryggebroen was opened in the summer of 2014. Cykelslangen takes off where Bryggebroen ends on the eastern side of the harbour and continues in a meandering course to Kalvebod Brygge, a major roadway, some 5.5 metres above the quay. Cykelslangen is used by 12,500 cyclists daily.

Copenhagen and bicycles
In 2011 the City of Copenhagen published its planning strategy for becoming the world’s best bicycle city in 2015. And this for all sort of good reasons – promoting a healthier lifestyle by cycling to work, setting the goal for Copenhagen as a CO2-neutral city by 2025, and simply – Copenhagen as a better place to live, more space, less noise, cleaner air. In 2010 with a 36 percent market share bicycles were the most used means of transportation to and from work within the city. The city’s strategy aims for 50 percent by the end of 2015.

In 2010 as part of the city’s bicycle policy,  a forerunner for the bicycle strategy, a series of initiatives were taken. Amongst these a general consultant tender for what was to become the bicycle bridge Cykelslangen. DISSSING+WEITLING architecture won the tender with Rambøll as sub-consulting engineers.

Pushing the boundaries – a specific typology
The client's brief called for a somewhat minimal bicycle ramp providing an alternative to the staircase.  We saw a tremendous potential for the new ramp to become something more than just replacing the staircase. To unfold the ramp from the corner site of the staircase, stretch it out, curve it. Across the water, in between the buildings, and down close to the Bryggebroen. A clear pathway. Hereby not only making it more joyful to ride on, with less steep gradients and better curvature, but also making it an element that could pull together an areawith a multitude of incoherent buildings.

We proposed a series of alternatives and discussed them with the client, the City of Copenhagen. The client listened and contributed to the idea. The city’s project manager brought it up higher in the administration. The budget had to be raised and a dialogue with neighbours to be commenced. Not only did it go through, the city also awarded DISSSING+WEITLING architecture, a year before the bridge was opened, for raising the bar. An award the City Administration has established to further good ideas.

Cykelslangen – a winding course
The project went from a ramp to an elevated bicycle route. It winds its way and by doing so it makes the bikers inadvertently slow down. A bike route above land and water, and it barely touches either resting on slim columns with a distance of 17 – 20 metres. It epitomizes the image of Copenhagen as a bicycle City. The pure joy of cycling. It is orange. Orange so that it may hold its own elevated place amidst the surroundings. Orange to awake a certain sensuousness. Orange to give it warmth in daytime and at night lit up from the LED strips in the glimmering stainless steel handrails.

Cykelslangen is not an elevated bicycle route. It is not an attempt to establish elevated bicycle routes as such, to separate cyclist from the ground level. Bicycles should not be isolated from but rather be an integrated part of city life, street life. Cykelslangen is a specific answer to a specific problem in Copenhagen

The bridge is a painted, airtight welded steel structure, carried by a central steel spine – a 75-centimetre box girder, from which a series of cantilevered struts, made of folded steel plates, carries the steel plate deck. We aimed for a slim structure, with all parts being structural, hereby reducing the visual impact. We have strived for transparency and simplicity. Structural refinement. The parapet is perceived as a transparent film, no modular hierarchy. In essence underlining the fluidity of movement through space. Celebrating bike riding. Looking out and being seen. The parapet consists of inward leaning steel bars with a circular cross section with a stainless steel handrail.

The bridge relates essentially to Bryggebroen but differs in detail, reflecting its functionality, alignment and setting.

Pavement & lighting
The anti-slip pavement consists of a granulated stone on an acrylic compound. The bridge is lit from LED strip lighting built into the parapet handrail. The thin vertical post are backlit at night highlighting the winding path. 

In 2013 DISSING+WEITLING architecture was presented with the “Raise the Bar” award from the City of Copenhagen, given for the initiative to promote an idea, which reached beyond the assigned brief. In 2014 Cykelslangen won the WAN Transport Award. The judges all recognized the elegance and ingenuity of the design and felt the architects had responded well to the challenges of the brief. The Bicycle Snake: “An elevated (literally and figuratively) response to a simple problem; adapted to local culture. Simple. Elegant. Joyous.” Cykelslangen recently won the prestigious "Store Arne" Award, named after the famous Danish architect Arne Jacobsen, given by the Danish Architect's Asociation at the Association's New Year's reception.