The Project

The Bridge Project is an initiative of Rijkswaterstaat, the Netherlands and Studio michiel van der kley in collaboration with the Technical University Eindhoven.

The Bridge project is about innovation, applying new techniques in the building environment, about 3Dprinting of Concrete and new ways to colaborate.

The idea arose in the studio of Michiel van der Kley, where the top of the Ministry of Infrastructure and Environment was visiting. They were there to see, with their own eyes, what this concrete 3D printing was all about. The former Director General, Jan Hendrik Dronkers, got so enthusiastic about the story behind it, the technique and especially the disruptive character of it all that he challenged Michiel the same day to come up with a design for a bicycle tunnel that could be 3D printed.

While looking for a location, Nijmegen seemed an ideal place. Nijmegen is Green Capital of Europe in 2018 and Nijmegen wanted to add some thing that would remain after this year; something eye catching and iconic. Later, and during the search for an exact location, it became clear that a tunnel wouldn’t be that easy, a bridge however would be very welcome. So it became a bridge.


This maybe also shows what this is all about actually.

Together with RWS, Michiel van der Kley tries to find out whether or not this technique enables us to have a much larger design freedom. We are looking for designs that are almost impossible to make with traditional techniques.
Most concrete constructions are being made with the aid of moulds. The moulds are not only expensive, they are also partly responsible for a bigger uniformity. When you 3D print, you do not use a mould. You 3D print the material in thin layers, and layer by layer, while the object kind of arises. And, you 3D print objects and parts one by one, giving it opportunities to add variety to the scene.

Apart form these advantages, we can use very powerful and unique software that will give us the ability to not just make this one model but a series of models. Models that belong to the same family but are distinctly different at the same time.

a New Way of Building

With this, so called, parametric software in hand, you can work in a vastly different way.
There is an initial design of course, but apart from that nothing is set in stone. You better try and see it as a recipe. By adding all kinds of values for all kinds of data that could influence the design, like the load it has to carry, the condition of the ground layers, the wind at that particular point, and the way the bridge is used, like pedestrians or cars, the design of the bridge will be adjusted in front of your eyes to get its definitive shape or appearance.
Influenced by the data mentioned above, the legs could get bigger, or maybe the software could even demand more or less legs, the road might get lighter or heavier, and all of that just by pressing a button. Or by altering a few values. All bridges that are made this way are undeniably family but different.


In the old world (actually the world we live in) all drawings had to be drawn again and again and presented to all kind of building and beauty committees. In the near future it will probably be sufficient to use the parametric file again by just changing the values for soil condition, load and length, and there’s another bridge.

The design is actually a family of bridges wher not one bridge has to be the same as the other. That’s the power of 3D printing

This technique will undeniably change the chain from ‘client – designer – engineer – contractor’.
We think this way of producing things will give a lot of players a new roll. Designs will become ‘living’ designs, that adapt to the surroundings, engineers ar more often being used in the beginning, not in the middle and contractors are able to work with less people and different people.

Well, let’s start with this bridge…