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UNStudio wins Budapest's first international competition to design a new bridge

Hungary - May 11, 2018 - 05:24   3824 views

UNStudio has won an international competition for a new bridge that will be built over the Danube river in the post-industrial southern area of Budapest. Organized as the first international bridge design competition in Hungary for over 120 years by the Municipal Government of Budapest in 2017, UNStudio was selected as the winner for "its contemporary design and innovative structural form".

The 500-metre long bridge will act as a gateway between Ujbuda and Csepel and accommodate cars, trams, pedestrians and cyclists with its sculptural form. The new bridge is also aimed to reduce traffic congestion through the transition of trams, pedestrians and cyclists, while also aiming to accelerate the development of the former industrial areas south of the city centre.

UNStudio will be working with a UK-based firm Buro Happold Engineering on this project. "The design directly connects the bridge to the Urban DNA of its location, its future development and its nascent landscape," said UNStudio in a press statement.

"Through a careful study of context and proportion, structural optimisation, accommodation of exist­ing constraints and the future vision of Budapest, the bridge is designed with an urban experience in mind that not only enables sustainable transportation between Ujbuda and Csepel, but also operates as a clear gateway to the city," added the studio.

UNStudio’s study carefully includes landscape, urban planning and Budapest’s future vision, incorporating four different types of vehicles. 

Intending to amplify Budapest’s future development on the south side of the city, the studio tested multiple struc­tural typologies within the landscape and created a suitable configuration highlighting the character of the location and its future developments.

"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 enable 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," said Ben van Berkel. 

"A cable stayed bridge with a main span of 220m offers unobstructed views on multiple levels from and towards the bridge and simultaneously creates a new urban landmark underlining the development of Budapest’s south. This structural typology is not yet to be found in Budapest," added the firm.

"The pylons are crafted from steel and finished in a white paint coating with a sheen. This finish endows the bridge with an ever changing appearance, as the result of its ability to pick up tints and tones from the surrounding environment."

The latest tech­nologies and materials will be employed in order to improve the design process, capital cost and full life cost of the bridge.

UNStudio recently unveiled design for a new cinema complex in Paris. The studio is currently working on Gothenburg's cable car system with slender and sculptural towers. Ben van Berkel also launched a new startup and innovation platform, called UNSense, which will operate an independent sister company of UNStudio.

Project facts

Architect: UNStudio (Ben van Berkel with Kristoph Nowak and Leon Hansmann, Jay Tsai)
Engineering: Buro Happold (Davood Liaghat, Edmund Matters, Anthony Holder, Laura Phillips)
Client: KKBK Kiemelt Kormányzati Beruházások Központja Nonprofit Zrt.
(KKBK Centre of Key Government Investments Nonprofit Plc.)


Traffic Bridge, with 4 car lanes, 2 tram lanes, 2 pedestrian and 2 bicycle lanes

Length: total bridge length ~500m, main span 220m

Status: competition entry         

All visuals © VA Render

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