The Moses Bridge

A series of moats and fortresses were built over the West Brabant Water Line region of the Netherlands during the 17th century in order to provide protection from invasion by France and Spain. Fort de Roovere was surrounded with a shallow moat that was too deep to march across, and too shallow for boats. In turn the earthen fort had remained protected –until now.

The Moses Bridge

From afar, the Moses Bridge is invisible to the eye. The flow of the moat appears continuous, as the water level remains at the same level, reflecting the surrounding foliage. As visitors approach the fort, the bridge appears as a break in the water with its sloping walls containing it.

First lying flush with the earth, the bridge then descends deeper into the ground. Lined with wood sheet piling for walls, the deck and stairs sit between. The bridge and its components have been made from sustainable hardwood that is Cradle to Cradle Gold certified. The Accoya wood is also treated with a nontoxic coating, protecting it from fungal decay and increasing its durability — an ideal material for a sunken bridge. Like a dam, the walls of the bridge hold the waters of the moat back, and like Moses, the bridge parts the waters so that pedestrians may pass.

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The bridge can’t be seen from a distance because the ground and the water come all the way up to its edge. When you get closer, the fortress opens up to you through a narrow trench. You can then walk up to its gates like Moses on the water.

The Moses Bridge

The Moses Bridge

The Moses Bridge

The Moses Bridge

The Moses Bridge

The Moses Bridge

The Moses Bridge

According to the designers, virtually no water spills over the edge because the height of the water is controlled by two small adjustable ‘dams’ at both sides of the moat. The dams are set at a height to.Ad Kil and Ko RosterArchitects of the Moses Bridge ensure that when the water level rises, the water spills over and into the dams and not into the bridge. In case of a heavy rainstorm, a small pump under the bottom of the bridge evacuates the water.

The Moses Bridge was built in about 2 months in the middle of the moat waters by first dredging around the bridge site and then driving sheet piles into the ground.

moses bridge left part of floor plan

moses bridge right half of plan

Ro&Ad-Architects Ad Kil & Ro Koster

Ro&Ad-Architects Ad Kil & Ro Koster

Via RO&AD Architecten