The Pedro e Inês footbridge in Coimbra, Portugal, gives the illusion of stopping mid-air in a thrilling architectural gesture that at first glance appears impossible. Like a lightning strike, the bridge is an expression of direct energy. A ‘cut’ traverses the bridge deck at its midpoint, generating a space at the centre of the bridge of architectural and structural tension. As a result, the bridge is transformed from a connection between two points into a destination itself.

Shifting horizons and the rhythm of the colours of the balustrade oscillate through one’s senses. What usually serves as merely a conduit becomes a territory for narrative, like the bittersweet legend of Portuguese king-to-be Pedro and his beloved lady-in-waiting Inês, from whom the bridge takes its name.

Coimbra Polis

Balmond Studio

Adão da Fonseca & Associados, Arup AGU