London-based architects Studio Bednarski Ltd working with Schlaich Bergermann and Partner as bridge engineers, have won an invited competition for the design of an opening bridge in Gdansk, Poland, to which seven design teams were admitted. The site is located next to Europe’s oldest and largest surviving port crane, completed in 1444.
In June 2015 the city office of Gdansk, a historic port city in northern Poland, in partnership with Multibud W Ciurzynski and Immobel Poland, as strategic partners for the development of Spichrzowa Island in Gdansk, announced a design competition involving an opening bridge across the Motlawa River in Gdansk. The bridge is a part of a development plan and will provide essential access to an island, which is one of the very few ruin settings left from the time of WW2 in Europe.
The bridge will link the new development with the old town creating not only a new access route but also a destination in itself.
The main design objective was the creation of a functional work of art, which emerges as a water-based sculpture when the bridge deck is open for navigation, that protects the deck from ship impact.
Cezary Bednarski commented: “The massive, eminently logical and functional form of the Gdansk port crane facilitated vertical movement and speaks of the times when it was built. Our horizontally revolving bridge takes up this dialogue as a delicate horizontal counterpoint to the crane’s mass and verticality. Our aim was to align the design of the new bridge with the dynamics of the city, endowing it with unequivocal and explicit identity, all born exclusively of its functionality and structure, without any decorations. Drawing from the Baltic traditions we sought to optimise functionality not letting the bridge become a manifestation of an extravagant structural form.”