Relation with the City
A modern high speed bike track could provide not only a new city attraction but a distinctive functional feature as well. In the congested especially during tourist season Prague the new bike skyway could make commuting more pleasant. The new footbridge could be not just a pedestrian connection between three districts with newly refurbished areas but also a catalyst for solutions in the city to make Prague the latest addition to the group of the most bicycle-friendly cities in the World creating a culture that encourages biking.
As pedestrian-cyclist conflicts start to be a big issue in the paved streets in this city, with cyclists that can’t pedal at a constant speed, dealing with stairways and frequent red lights the new connection could be a starting point to improve the conditions for both types of commuters. The new bikeway, which would run one story above the Stavnice island ground and Veltava waters, would let the cyclists move without interruption with intuitive traffic solutions adjusted to bicycle speeds, safety buffer zones, paths with monochromatic asphalt, a slight change in elevation near crossings to slow down and an intermediate curb which divides them from pedestrians.
The road at over 2,5 m in each direction , would have plenty of room to pass by around another slower biker met on the way and not to interfere with the adjacent wide pedestrian path. Their maximum allowable inclination would prevent riders from picking up too much speed and allow disabled to ascend easily. Another local condition affecting the design are frequently occurring flooding incidents the Stvanice Island would therefore not be occupied by any volumetrically program, buildings but instead would be designed as a multifunctional square.
Surrounded by green surfaces with tall trees and circular seating areas around them similar to the two bridge support elements, it would reference the open-air character of the island from the XIV century, representing the nearest green area for the lower part of holeovice. The bridge level height would be additionally raised to have the walking and biking surfaces above the water level creating a safe haven in case of floods and during normal days it could perform as an elevated view terrace to the city.
Technical Solutions and Materiality
The simple yet elegant design of the footbridge would touch the surface area of the island as little as possible thanks to it’s steel structural concept which minimizes the use of normal vertical pillars. This allows to free a lot of ground floor space for activities and prevent from creating possible barriers during high water levels. The main structure was designed to carry only minimal required loads with pedestrian and cyclist flow.
Big gatherings and additional program could result in enlarging the structure which contradicts with a lightweight footbridge concept thus looking more like a normal car bridge. Only limited bay areas which allow pedestrians to rest and enjoy the Veltava River views of Prague were assigned along the entire length of the bridge. The outer steel plates shell would be covered with white protective paint and have an smooth fluid profile of the underside design which would additionally improve the resistance to strong currents during floods. Source by KAMJZ Architects.
- Location: Prague, Czech Republic
- Architect: KAMJZ architects
- Project Leader: Maciej Jakub Zawadzki
- Project Team: Łukasz Wenclewski, Michał Polak, Viktoriya Tsindrenko, Anna Černá
- Structural Consultant: Arup Poland
- Client: The City Council of Prague
- Date: July 2017
- Images: Courtesy of KAMJZ Architects
Article by Marco Rinaldi