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UK architects miss out on New Danube Bridge top prize... but could still win job

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UNStudio has defeated Zaha Hadid Architects, Wilkinson Eyre and Knight Architects in the competition for a major new bridge over the River Danube in Budapest

The Amsterdam practice was named overall winner of the New Danube Bridge competition at an award ceremony in Budapest City Hall last week. Zaha Hadid Architects and French outfit Lavigne-Chéron came joint second.

Prizes also went to Knight Architects with Arup, local firm Pont Terv, and London-practice Bright Field Studios with SpecialTerv and Pipenbaher Consulting Engineers. All the winning teams received a share of the 800,000 prize fund and any one of the top schemes could be considered for construction by the client.

Longlisted entries by Wilkinson Eyre, Bath Quays Bridge-winning French designer Marc Mimram, and Ney + Partners of Brussels all failed to achieve recognition.

The Hungarian government-backed competition sought proposals for a landmark road, tram, pedestrian and cycle crossing connecting Galvani street in Buda with nearby Csepel Island and Illatos road in Pest.

The crossing – featuring a tram line and three motor vehicle lanes in each direction – will complete the city’s outer ring road and is intended to kick-start regeneration across large areas in the city’s undeveloped south.

Knight Architects associate Héctor Beade-Pereda said: ‘We are very proud of our design; a very contextual and ambitious single-pylon suspension bridge that aspired to be a natural step forward in the existing family of bridges of the city.

‘The team was keen to create a valuable addition to the cityscape, a tool for people to enjoy the river, and a catalyser for the development of Csepel Island and South Buda, providing an appropriate balance between a new city at the banks and serving the necessary functional requirements.’

Budapest features 10 bridges built between 1839 and 2008. The Liberty Bridge, designed by János Feketeházy, was the last to be built following an international competition, in 1894. English engineer William Tierney Clark completed the city’s landmark Chain Bridge 50 years earlier.

The New Danube Bridge has been in development since the early 1990s but a shortage of funding held the development back until now.

Judges included opera singer Erika Miklosa; Yozo Fujino, professor of Yokohama National University; and the transport minister Róbert Homolya. 

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Readers' comments (1)

  • Somehow you omitted to mention that the engineering partner of UNStudio for this competition is Burohappold. The bridge team is based in London.

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