Liesbeek River will soon welcome a unique bridge made of an invasive species’ wood designed by an acclaimed international designer as part of a community project.

British designer Paul Cocksedge has created a unique concept for the new bridge that will utilise the wood of an invasive Eucalyptus tree, offsetting the negative impacts of using other kinds of building materials. This type of tree can have negative impacts on the water table and originates from Australia.

Being developed in partnership with WSP and building company X-Lam, the idea to build the bridge originated at the Design Indaba in February 2020.

Cocksedge will work alongside X-Lam to turn the Eucalyptus tree into Cross Laminated Timber (CLT), essentially providing a sustainable alternative to concrete, masonry and steel. This also reduces the water and energy used during the manufacturing process.

Essentially the timber is glued in longitudinal layers creating a strong and stable structural material suitable for use as a bridge and other structures as well.

The design of the bridge is simplistic yet modern and draws on the way planks are usually stacked on top of each other, but with an artistic variation.

A sense of movement is created with the staggering of wooden beams and the bridge seems to blend into nature while standing out at the same time.

The design of the bridge also features seating areas along the length that are built into the structure at convenient and comfortable distances.

“It has been incredibly exciting working with the team at Design Indaba and with the design community in South Africa, which has been the first for myself and my team. This bridge is a relatively simple visual gesture, but it addresses important issues around our environment, and how we can innovate with CLT to create new structures,” says Cocksedge.

Images/Renderings: Paul Cocksedge

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