Our entry for the Gdansk Footbridge competition seeks to create a draw footbridge over the Motlawa River to form a new connection between Gdansk’s Old Town and the Olowianka Island that is home to the Baltic Philharmonic Hall. From the outset we wanted to design a bridge that was unique to the City of Gdansk and unique to the site and its context. The bridge is configured to cross the river diagonally from the footsteps on the Old City embankment towards the Baltic Philharmonic Hall. In so doing we create not just a crossing point over the river but a journey through the river. The bridge becomes a destination in itself with the potential to respond to the direction and viewpoints of the connections it is forming across the city.
Architecturally, we sought to use forms that provided a sculptural interpretation of the vessels that use the river. In its structure and fabrication we sought to utilise the ship-building construction for which Gdansk is known. The closed bridge appears to float like a boat on the water, only lightly touching the river banks. When open the form mirrors the flotillas passing by. The context informs the materiality, structure and construction of the bridge: the symbology of the ziggurat city wall informs the plan, the bridge’s patterned golden hull takes inspiration from the Gdansk coat of arms, with the golden crown informing the gilded metalwork of the bridge, whilst the symbol of the Gdansk cross penetrates the hull to reflect the points of lowered stress within the bridge’s structural skin.