I've got a real backlog of posts building up here: lots of things I want to write about, and a couple more posts still to come to finish off my Manchester series. So bear with me, I'm going to have to pick and choose what to cover and when, and some bridge-related news may come pretty late as a result.
Back in November, I mentioned a footbridge design competition being held in the town of Maribor, Slovenia. This is part of a trio of contests seeking enhancements to the townscape in advance of Maribor becoming European Capital of Culture in 2012. I complained at the time that the competition was open only to registered architects, although I believe they did reverse that ruling before entries had to be submitted in February.
Anyway, results have now been announced. It was a popular competition, with 124 entries (even more for their contest for a new art gallery, which garnered 217). Three entrants have been given a share of the prize fund, with two others singled out for honourable mentions. Click on any image for a larger version.
Burgos & Garrido Arquitectos / Idom (Spain)
This design is a three-span girder bridge, with timber-clad steel edge girders, and arrays of inclined stainless steel tubular piles forming the piers. The spans seem to be sympathetic to the existing three-span arch bridge a short distance away, and it seems a modest but well-detailed proposal.
Viktor Markelj and others (Slovenia)
This is a single span steel box girder arch bridge, with semi-glazed balustrades. Again, it's attractive and almost utopian in its simplicity, although I wonder whether the ground conditions are suitable for an arch of this span, with the foundations illustrated looking somewhat unconvincing.
José María Sánchez García and others (Spain)
I find it hard to believe there weren't more convincing entries than this, a tall, presumably steel, truss structure with walkways on three levels (including high-level links further into town away from the river banks). The illustrations are unconvincing, structurally, and it's hard not to think it spoils the views of the existing bridge.
Gentiane Desveaux and others (France)
This is a two-span steel space truss supporting an interestingly shaped promenade. I like the organic, flowing form, but the choice of span arrangement seems as arbitrary as the deck geometry.
Gašper Premože / Andraž Tarman (Slovenia)
So far as I can tell, this is actually a boat platform connected to a control rope, essentially a variant on the traditional idea of a rope ferry. It's always good to see a brief being challenged: is a bridge really the right answer? But it's also hard to see this as the sort of permanent addition to the town that best exploits the opportunity for European funding.