This Footbridge in the Netherlands Transforms With Rising Waters

© NEXT architects
© NEXT architects

Twenty-six percent of the Netherlands lies below sea level, making the country vulnerable to floods. This is especially true of the 2000-year-old city of Nijmegen, which straddles the Waal river. The town is home to many examples of flood-resistant infrastructure, but one footbridge there works a bit differently. Instead of building it around the threat of rising waters, the designers of the Zalige bridge made a crossing that changes along with its environment, according to Co.Design.

Commissioned as part of the Netherlands’s Room for the River infrastructure program, it connects the Waal’s northern bank to a small island that’s part of a public park. NEXT architects, in collaboration with H+N+S Landscape Architects, made a bold choice when designing it: The path curves up and down, and at one point is level with the park’s floodplains. When the river resides at normal levels, pedestrians can walk the bridge in its entirety. Only when water levels rise is the reasoning behind the unusual shape revealed. The flooded path leaves behind a series of raised concrete blocks sticking out of the water, and to keep moving, people must hop from one block to the next.

The bridge opened in 2016, but it made news again this January when Nijmegen saw its highest water levels in 15 years. As the river rose, the Zalige bridge could be reached only by using the stepping stones. Residents flocked to the site for a closer look at the water, ignoring instructions from authorities to avoid the park as flooding continued. Eventually the water became so high that even the blocks were completely submerged, but not before demonstrating the bridge’s innovative approach to an old problem.

NEXT writes on the project webpage, "As a crest above the river, the bridge emphasizes the dynamic character of water by letting people see and experience the changing river landscape."

People biking on path.

People walking on bridge.

People walking on path.

People walking on path.

[h/t Co.Design]

All images: © NEXT architects

This Stylish Cardboard Box Is Designed to Be Your Cat’s New Favorite Hideout

Scott Salzman
Scott Salzman

You can buy your cat a fancy bed or perch, but when it comes right down to it, your feline friend is probably going to be more eager to curl up in the cardboard box that it arrived in. So why not just cut out the part where you spend time and money picking out something your cat couldn’t care less about? Just get a really nice box. That’s the premise behind the Purrfect Cat Box, a cardboard box specifically tailored to cats’ needs.

While every cat is finicky in his or her own way, almost all cats love a good cardboard box. (Seriously, it’s science.) Squeezing into a cozy box makes cats feel protected, and, since cats like warmer temperatures, the insulating cardboard also helps keep them at their preferred level of toasty.

Designed by Colorado-based inventor Scott Salzman, the Purrfect Cat Box is made to be just the right size for ultimate kitty comfort. At about the size of a shoebox, it’s big enough for most cats to squeeze into without being cramped—though Salzman doesn’t specify whether it will work for big breeds like Maine Coons—but small enough that they still feel protected inside. It has a small cutout in the front to allow your cat to peek his head outside the box, and, most importantly, to get in a really good chin scratch.

While we humans might find cardboard cars or cardboard Taj Mahal replicas adorable, most cats just want a plain box that makes them feel safe and comfortable. The geometric-patterned Purrfect Cat Box walks the line between utilitarian and chic, making the empty cardboard box in your living room a little bit less of an eyesore.

Plus, it’s cardboard-priced. At $6 a box, it's about what you'd pay to have a regular cardboard box full of anything from Amazon delivered to your door, but it’s still inexpensive enough that if your cat destroys it, it’s easy enough to throw in the recycle bin and get a new one.

Get it on Indiegogo.

Europe's First Underwater Restaurant Is Now Taking Reservations

MIR, Snøhetta
MIR, Snøhetta

The choppy waters off Norway's coast may not seem like the most relaxing dining atmosphere, but thanks to the work of the architecture firm Snøhetta, the North Sea is now home to the region's hottest new restaurant. Under, Europe first underwater restaurant (and the world's largest), opens next year, as Forbes reports—and reservations are already filling up fast.

From the shore, Under looks like some sort of toppled ruin jutting out of the water. Guests enter at sea-level, then descend to the champagne bar and finally to the 100-person dining room, which is submerged 18 feet beneath the ocean's surface. From their seats, diners can gaze through the restaurant's 36-foot-by-13-foot panoramic window. Lighting installed both inside the room and along the seabed outside illuminates nearby marine life, providing a stunning underwater show any time of day or night.

A rendering of the top of Under jutting out of the ocean
MIR, Snøhetta

In addition to designing Under to be a breathtaking experience, Snøhetta built the restaurant to durable. The building's 3-foot thick walls protect guests and staff from water pressure and violent tides. The architects were so sure of the restaurant's safety that they intentionally built it in notoriously rough waters near the town of Båly off Norway's southern coast. According to Snøhetta's senior architect Rune Grasdal, a storm is the best time to dine if guests want a truly dramatic view.

A rendering of the exterior of the underwater restaurant
MIR, Snøhetta

The over-the-top atmosphere will be accompanied by a world-class meal. The seasonal menu comes from Danish chef Nicolai Ellitsgaard and dishes are served over the course of three-and-a-half to four hours.

Under doesn't open to the public until April 2019, but the restaurant is already taking reservations. Adventurous diners can attempt to book a table here, or, for parties larger than eight, email the restaurant.

[h/t Forbes]

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