Birtavarre, Norway

In the the northern Norwegian village of Birtavarre, the Sabetjohk Pedestrian Bridge spans 147 feet across the 500-foot-deep Gorsa Gorge—northern Europe’s deepest canyon. In less than a year and for just under $1 million, Oslo-based Ghilardi+Hellsten Arkitekter designed and constructed the lightweight sandblasted aluminum structure, which offers breathtaking views of the waterfall below. Fabricated in Austria, shipped by truck to Norway, and assembled in a nearby lot, the public design-build commission nearly met a dramatic end during installation. The helicopter airlifting the bridge to its site suddenly dropped in altitude, sending the 8,400-pound cargo crashing to the ground, but the crew was able to repair and mount it the next day. The treacherous terrain made anchoring a suspension bridge—the initial design idea—impossible, so the architects chose to construct an equilateral triangle frame along a beam anchored at two foundation points, using the recognizable geometric shape to “enhance the contrast between the landscape and the man-made.” The bridge completes a steep, rocky hiking path around the grounds of an old copper mine and includes a bungee-jumping deck for the most daring visitors.

People and Products

Design and Construction Team

Architecture and Landscape: Ghilardi+Hellsten Arkitekter AS, Norway
Engineering: Dipl.-Ing. Florian Kosche AS, Norway
Contractor: Bitschnau GmbH, Austria

Technical Information

Type: truss bridge
Material: sandblasted aluminum
Span: 53m
Height: 5,6m
Width: 7,8m
Width walking path: 1,5m Helicopter lift: 3800kg
Weight path: 5100kg
Weight railing: 2000kg
Weight total: 10500kg
Aluminum profiles: 1337
Aluminum plates: 524 Screws and bolts: 6838 Steel wires: 52

Gorge depth: 150m

Price total: 5 250 000 Nok

Opening: 1.aug 2011 Location: Birtavarre, Norway Client: Kåfjord Kommune