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A Dutch Bridge Built for Bats

Humans can cross it, bats can live under it.

via Raymond Rutting

The town of Monster in the Netherlands is now home to the “Batbridge,” thanks to NEXT Architects. Completed this month, the bridge spanning the Vlotwatering River will now accommodate motorists, bicyclists, and pedestrians—and lots of bats.

The 230-foot bridge is built to support bat habitats in all seasons. The structure’s concrete arch “provides a stable and pleasant climate” for bats, the architects write, while the underside of the end of the bridge can host bat roosts in the winter. Come summertime, bats can move out to the deck and brick railings.

via Raymond Rutting

The Vlotwatering River happens to be an important natural pathway for local bat populations, which means that bats often pass through the area. Monster (the town) is hoping a permanent bat colony will set up shop under the bridge.

“The basics of designing for bats does not differ much from designing for humans,” NEXT Architects co-founder Bart Reuser told Dezeen in June. “It is important that the temperature doesn’t drop too far, [and] this is possible by using lots of mass that equalizes temperature throughout the day and the seasons.”

Of course, bats sometimes establish colonies under bridges even without architects’ help. The Congress Avenue Bridge in downtown Austin, Texas, is famously home to 1.5 million of the critters. Locals and tourists often gather at sundown to watch them take flight. Spooky!

Congress Avenue Bridge at desk, via wikimedia commons user Peter Potrowl

Cover image via Wikimedia Commons user Mnolf

(Via Dezeen)

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