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Competition: New Danube Bridge, Budapest

The Hungarian government has launched a contest for a major new bridge over the River Danube in the post-industrial southern area of Budapest (Deadline: 31 July)

Open to all experienced multidisciplinary teams, the English-language competition seeks proposals for a landmark road, tram, pedestrian and cycle crossing connecting Galvani street in Buda with nearby Csepel Island and Illatos road in Pest. The contest has an €910,000 prize fund.

The crossing – featuring three motor vehicle lanes in each direction – will complete the city’s outer ring road and is intended to kick-start regeneration across large areas in the city’s undeveloped south (pictured). Twelve firms have already been invited to participate in the contest, including UN Studio, Marc Mimram Architecture and Richard Meier and Partners.

Contest Site, Budapest

Contest Site, Budapest

Contest Site, Budapest

Announcing the competition, the government commissio­ner for major Budapest developments Balázs Fürjes said: ‘The construction of a new bridge over the Danube is an opportunity spanning over generations, therefore, it also entails great responsibility. Thus the Hungarian government decided the designer of bridge – for the first time since 1894 – should be selected through an international design competition.

‘I am certain many excellent proposals will be submitted, and the successful candidate, through this bridge, will not only create a new symbol of Budapest but also establish the missing link that has long been absent from the urban structure of the southern part of the city.’

Budapest was created in the late 19th century by the unification of Buda on the east bank of the Danube and Pest on the west bank. The city features 10 bridges built between 1839 and 2008.

The Liberty Bridge, designed by János Feketeházy, was the result of the last international competition for a new bridge held in the city in 1894. English engineer William Tierney Clark completed the city’s landmark Chain Bridge 50 years earlier.

The latest project – dubbed the New Danube Bridge – has been in development since the early 1990s but a shortage of funding has held the development back until now. In the competition’s opening prequalification round applicants must submit an example of a bridge at least 250m long and designed at least up to planning stage in the last 15 years.

Danube bridges, Budapest

Danube bridges, Budapest

Danube bridges, Budapest

Participating teams must feature an architect, bridge designer, transport engineer, geotechnical engineer and structural designer. Judges include Fürjes; opera singer Erika Miklosa; Yozo Fujino, professor of Yokohama National University; and the transport minister Róbert Homolya.

The competition language is English and the finalists, to be announced on 22 August, will receive €40,000 each to participate in the design phase.

Conceptual schemes will be judged on their architectonic impact, individual character, visual connections to the wider city and quality of the pedestrian and cyclist experience. Extra praise will be given to proposals that harness innovative sustainable materials and seek to deliver a new type of bridge structure yet to be seen in the historic city.

The overall winner, to be announced on 8 March, 2018, will receive €90,000 and the design commission. There will also be a second prize of €50,000, third prize of €30,000 and three purchases worth €20,000 each.

How to apply

Deadline

The deadline for applications is 31 July

Contact details

Urbán Mariann
KKBK – Centre of Key Government Investments Nonprofit
AK22545
Horvát utca 12–26.
Budapest
1027
Hungary

Email: urban.mariann@kkbk.hu

Visit the competition website for more information

View the contract notice for more information

Mersey Gateway case study: Q&A Martin Knight

The director of Knight Architects discusses lessons learned designing a major new road crossing over the River Mersey in England

Martin Knight

Martin Knight

Martin Knight

How will your Mersey Gateway project create a landmark crossing to boost connectivity with the region?

Wherever we are in the world we associate bridges with a sense of place and this distinctiveness explains the popular appeal of bridge design. Whether the aim is improving urban connectivity, generating civic pride or creating a focal point for new development, bridges strengthen identity and add value.

The Mersey Gateway is a major civil engineering scheme to build a new six-lane crossing of the River Mersey in north-west England. Connecting an upgraded highway network in Runcorn and Widnes, the project aims to relieve the 1961 Silver Jubilee Bridge and provide robust infrastructure to support the economic growth of the region.

Mersey Gateway by Knight Architects

Mersey Gateway by Knight Architects

Source: Image by Mersey Gateway Crossings Board

Mersey Gateway by Knight Architects

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

The centrepiece is a 1,000m-long cable-stayed bridge with a unique three-tower configuration, whose central tower is lower than the outer two. This geometric arrangement, which is a creative response to diverse environmental constraints including the sensitive tidal estuary and airport height restrictions, gives the bridge a distinctive architectural character.

Having worked on the project since 2006, Knight Architects developed the detailed reference design that first received planning permission in 2010 and the practice remains architectural adviser to the client Mersey Gateway Crossings Board, guiding aesthetics throughout the procurement and construction stages.

From the outset, it was recognised that the bridge will become a major new landmark for the north-west and Halton Borough Council sought to ensure the functional brief was matched with real architectural ambition. The visual character of the main bridge was strictly controlled using a Design Guide enforced by planning conditions, ensuring the Design & Build construction JV and its design team complied with the intent of the reference design.

Mersey Gateway by Knight Architects

Mersey Gateway by Knight Architects

Source: Image by Knight Architects

Mersey Gateway by Knight Architects

What advice would you have to contest participants on designing a new tram and 2x3-lanes bridge in southern Budapest?

Beautiful, efficient design should satisfy both artistic and scientific analysis to be visually legible and structurally truthful. This is equally true for a bridge spanning the River Mersey or the River Danube, which is famous worldwide for its bridges. In Budapest, the character of the many bridges is distinctive and memorable. The new bridge must respect and add to this context, strengthening the sense of identity associated with this historic and extraordinary city.

Mersey Gateway by Knight Architects

Mersey Gateway by Knight Architects

Source: Image by Knight Architects

Mersey Gateway by Knight Architects

 

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