UN Studio, in collaboration with Buro Happold Engineering, has won an international competition for the design of a new bridge spanning the River Danube in the Hungarian capital of Budapest. Their scheme will serve as a blueprint for the “Galvani Bridge” connecting South Buda and Csepel, balancing graceful aesthetics with strong performance.
The competition for the bridge was conceived with the goal of decreasing the 600,000-strong daily traffic load on existing bridges across the Danube by 40,000. As well as easing traffic congestion, the bridge is intended to embody a liveable, loveable, healthy image of 21st-century Budapest.
The UN Studio scheme comprises a 1640-foot-long (500-meter-long) two-pylon stayed girder bridge, combining a road, tram, pedestrian and cycle crossing. The proposal seeks to act as a gateway to the city, while not impinging on its environment. By avoiding overpass structures on the off-ramp, and the fixture of lighting along gates and piers, the scheme sits elegantly in the landscape while maintaining a human-friendly scale.
It was essential that the bridge would be in harmony with Budapest – which owes much of its configuration to the surrounding landscape – and its future vision. It was also important that the bridge enables unobstructed views below and above the bridge deck. We wanted it to operate as a clear gateway to the city, like an inviting gesture of hands. -Ben van Berkel, Founder, UN Studio
The scheme’s pylons are crafted from steel and finished in a white sheen, creating a blank canvas activated by the ever-changing hues and colors of the natural surroundings. A 720 foot (220 meter) main-span cable system offers unobstructed views across the urban landscape while also introducing a new structural typology to the city.
Out of 17 submitted entries, a joint-second place prize was awarded to a consortium of Leonhardt, Andrä und Partner, Zaha Hadid Architects, Werner Consult and Smoltzcyk & Partner, and the consortium of Lavigne & Chéron Architects, Bureau d’Etude Greisch, Közlekedés Consulting Engineers and Geovil.