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Competition: Holešovice footbridge, Prague

The City of Prague has announced an international competition for a 200 million CZK footbridge over the Vltava river (Deadline: 25 July)

Open to teams of architects and engineers eligible to practice in Europe, the competition seeks proposals for a new pedestrian and cycle crossing connecting the historic district of Holešovice with Štvanice Island and nearby Karlín.

Located a short distance from the city’s UNESCO World Heritage Site within the Prague conservation area, the new structure is expected to boost access to green spaces on Štvanice Island and promote additional sports and leisure activities in the area.

Contest site

Contest site

Contest site

According to the brief: ‘The footbridge will be located near urban heritage sites in the Prague Conservation Area and it will impinge on notable vistas along the Vltava river and run through a regional bio-corridor on the Štvanice island.

‘The most important restrictions on the design are requirements relating to flood protection, water flow and waterway management, the nature of the urban situation on both banks and requirements for wheelchair access to the footbridge.’

The project comes 15 years after the city was devastated by major floods which caused around £2.3 billion worth of destruction across the Czech Republic. A conceptual proposal for a bridge on the same site – selected in a 1999 contest – was put on hold due to the resulting damage.

Due to the river bank erosion and exposed weaknesses on the planned site, flood protection and water flow management are considered by the organisers to be key factors for any design to succeed.

The project budget is set at 200 mln CZK and approximately 10 per cent of the total amount will be spent on architectural fees.

The contest jury will feature six independent professional architects and engineers along with five planning and development experts from the local government – including Marek Kopeć, director of projects and competitions at the Institute of Planning and Development of Prague.

Submissions must include five A0-sized landscape boards featuring graphical images along with a 3,600-character project description on two A4 sides.

The competition language is Czech and all teams must include one EEA or Swiss-based architect and one EEA or Swiss-based bridge engineer. Proof of qualifications and professional status will be required.

The overall winner will receive 1 million CZK while a second place prize of 600,000 CZK, third place prize of 350,000 CZK and several honourable mentions worth 50,000 CZK each will also be awarded.

How to apply


The deadline for submissions is 3pm local time (CEST) on 25 July

Contact details

Czech Chamber of Architects
Josefská 34/6
118 00 Prague 1 – Malá Strana

Tel: +420 236 004 601

View the competition website for more information

Diamond Jubilee Bridge case study: Q&A with Chris Medland

The director of One-World Design Architects discusses lessons learned designing a new pedestrian crossing over the River Thames in London

How will your Diamond Jubilee Bridge deliver an appropriate pedestrian crossing connecting communities on either side of the Thames?

The Diamond Jubilee Bridge is a true bottom up local infrastructure project. The Bridge will connect Battersea residents with the new train station at Imperial Wharf, link the Thames Path, provide access to the River Taxi Service and ease congestion on local buses by encouraging model shift to walking and cycling for local journeys. It will enable over 1.5 million users per annum (according to independent business case). A crossing here was first called for nearly 100 years ago and the bridge is now supported by local Councils, the Greater London Authority, Transport for London the Mayor and local people and businesses. It has planning consent, has started on site (with piles in-situ thanks to nearby residential development) and is around 40 per cent funded.

Diamond Jubilee Bridge by One-World Design Architects

Diamond Jubilee Bridge by One-World Design Architects

Diamond Jubilee Bridge by One-World Design Architects

Which architectural, material, structural and other methods did you harness in your design?

In order to accommodate the site constraints including river traffic access to the navigable channels, the take-off and landing zone of Battersea Heliport, land ownership and the neighbouring listed railway structure the superstructure of the Diamond Jubilee Bridge is a three-span tied arch bridge. The steel arches intersect in plan at the centre of each span, allowing the pairs of arches to provide each other lateral stability. Below the deck at the river piers, the arches change angle to run parallel to the span of the bridge. This minimises the lateral dimension of the new river piers keeping the navigable channels clear. The arches are fabricated steel boxes with a diamond cross-section. This allows the depth, width, and wall thickness of the sections to vary as required for structural efficiency with the plate thicknesses being optimised to achieve minimal material use.

Diamond Jubilee Bridge by One-World Design Architects

Diamond Jubilee Bridge by One-World Design Architects

Diamond Jubilee Bridge by One-World Design Architects

What advice would you have to contest participants on designing a new pedestrian bridge for Prague?

Let go of any preconceptions and have a clear mind. A bridge is simply how to span a particular obstacle for a particular purpose in a particular place. Learn the site setting, its constraints, challenges and opportunities fully and let the design evolve in response to these inputs and the brief. Team up with an Engineer and be open to continual simplification. You cannot force gracefulness – it needs to emerge naturally. No architect can claim to be solely responsible for any bridge design – what we do as the design team leader is create an environment with enough air that a solution can breathe and grow gently. In time, with tending, the right solution will present itself and it will settle comfortably home.

Diamond Jubilee Bridge by One-World Design Architects

Diamond Jubilee Bridge by One-World Design Architects

Diamond Jubilee Bridge by One-World Design Architects