Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA), Wilkinson Eyre and Knight Architects have been shortlisted in the competition for a major new bridge over the River Danube in Budapest
The three UK-based firms feature among 16 teams chosen for the next phase of the prestigious Hungarian government-backed contest. Other finalists include Bath Quays Bridge-winning French designer Marc Mimram, Amsterdam-based UNStudio, and Ney + Partners of Brussels.
Open to all experienced multidisciplinary teams, the English-language competition seeks 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 contest has an £800,000 prize fund.
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.
Martin Knight, director at Knight Architects said: ‘We are thrilled to be shortlisted alongside Arup for this exciting and significant project. The New Danube Bridge has the potential to not only provide significant improvements to the city’s transport systems, but to define a new landmark for many years to come.’
Budapest was created in the late 19th century by the unification of Buda on the east bank of the Danube and Pest on the west bank. The city features 10 bridges built between 1839 and 2008.
The Liberty Bridge, designed by János Feketeházy, was the result of the last international competition for a new bridge held in the city in 1894. English engineer William Tierney Clark completed the city’s landmark Chain Bridge 50 years earlier.
The latest project – dubbed the New Danube Bridge – has been in development since the early 1990s but a shortage of funding has held the development back until now. In the competition’s opening prequalification round applicants must submit an example of a bridge at least 250m long and designed at least up to planning stage in the last 15 years.
Participating teams are required feature an architect, bridge designer, transport engineer, geotechnical engineer and structural designer. Judges include Fürjes; opera singer Erika Miklosa; Yozo Fujino, professor of Yokohama National University; and the transport minister Róbert Homolya.
The competition language is English and the finalists will receive £35,000 each to participate in the design phase.
Conceptual schemes will be judged on their architectonic impact, individual character, visual connections to the wider city and quality of the pedestrian and cyclist experience. Extra praise will be given to proposals that harness innovative sustainable materials and seek to deliver a new type of bridge structure yet to be seen in the historic city.
The overall winner, to be announced on 8 March, 2018, will receive £79,000 and the design commission. There will also be a second prize of £44,000, third prize of £26,000 and three purchases worth £17,500 each.