Many thanks to a reader for drawing my attention to this footbridge design contest in Prague.
A previous competition was held for the same site in 1999, but flooding in 2002 led to the winning design being taken no further. Significant changes to riverside flood defences required a higher clearance to the river.
The present competition was announced in April this year, with a winner declared on 4th December. Intriguingly, a 3rd prize and two runners-up were also declared, but no 2nd prize!
There were nearly 50 submissions, with entries including one or two "big names" in the field, but mostly locals. I've included details of the prize-winning entries here, and you can visit the project site to see all the other submissions.
There's a clear contrast with the last open footbridge design contest I covered here, the Nine Elms - Pimlico Footbridge. The Prague contest features a lot less of the "arty bollocks" that was seen in London, and I wonder how much of that is down to how the contest was organised, including the nature of the prize money, and how much is a cultural thing.
Ing. Marek Blank, Ing. arch. MgA. Petr Tej, with Ing. Jan Mourek, Janek Srnka, Ing. Jiří Hejzlar
Vltava River footbridge in Prague, authorities may now have second thoughts about a prestressed design.
I have mixed views on the visual merits of the design: I admire the minimalist aesthetic, but it feels too much like a channel intended as an aqueduct, rather than as a footbridge.
Ing. arch. Lukáš Landa, Arch. Pavel Rak, with Ferrari Gartmann AG
It's a simple, reasonably elegant design, but leaves me wondering why you would run a major design competition just to choose something that's so close to bog-standard.
Petr Hájek Architects
Association of Architects - Jurák, Filsak
The remaining entries are well worth spending a few minutes (or hours) skimming through, just to see the impressive range of effort that has been brought to bear. The quality is generally good (although rarely excellent), perhaps indicating that central/eastern Europe still takes engineering seriously (unlike the west of Europe, where it is sometimes seen by architects as an afterthought).