Pedestrian and Cyclist Bridge Over the Vistula River
To provide a new connection between the old city and the right bank of the Vistula, the city of Warsaw had launched an international competition for a pedestrian and cyclist bridge. The 463 m long bridge is to provide a new link between the city centre of Warsaw and the Praga district on the right bank of the river. The length of the Karova Bridge will make it one of the longest of its kind in the world.
The joint design by Schüßler-Plan and DKFS Architects emerged as the winner from the 40 entries submitted. The jury praised the reserved and extremely elegant form of the bridge which blends seamlessly into the existing cityscape and landscape. By adopting and continuing existing historical axes, the bridge is designed with bending points at which observation decks in the form of open staircases will direct the view over the old city.
Design of a Harmonious and Also Unique Landmark
The maxim for the design was that the bridge should not only be simply an infrastructure, it should also be an attractive structure offering qualities to improve life and thus itself become a new venue. Its observation decks transform the structure into a grandstand with a new view over the Warsaw skyline and the UNESCO World Heritage site. The appearance of the bridge arises from engineering requirements. Technical logic and force flows are a readable part of the elegant silhouette which, thanks to its minimised height of 8.4 m above deck, does not obstruct the axes of view onto the historic castle. Due to the maximum permissible construction height, an asymmetrical suspension construction was chosen for the design. The tower is inclined and gives the steel bridge an open modern appearance.
Sustainable Function for the Infrastructure
The new bridge structure forms an important element for the further development of the right bank of the Vistula and provides a new quality of infrastructure. The sustainable design attempts to react flexibly to the further development of the urban space and at the same time blend the structure into its surroundings in a coherent way that demonstrates high quality. Any interference in the successful architecture of the Bulwary Wiślane Boulevard is minimised and the existing new infrastructure is optimally integrated. The stair ramp directly to the Bulwary forms an intensive 3-dimensional interface that keeps many alternative accesses open. On the Praga side, the bridge links up with the existing landscape and footpaths via stairways. The bridgehead invites visitors to linger on its decks and affords a unique view onto the west bank.
The decision of the Warsaw City Council on 11 March 2021 officially confirms the start of construction of the Karova Bridge. Work on the new Vistula crossing is therefore expected to start soon. Construction is expected to take two to three years.