William Matthews Associates create new bridge for Brno
William Matthews Associates
Contest winners to connect new neighbourhood & cultural hub in Czech city
Tenderstream member William Matthews Associates has won an open international competition for the design of a new road and pedestrian bridge over the River Svitava in Brno, Czech Republic. A significant win for the practice, the announcement comes after Tintagel Castle Footbridge in Cornwall, which the firm designed in partnership with Ney & Partners, reached the shortlist for the RIBA Stirling Prize 2021.
The Brno bridge contest is the latest in a series of competitions launched by the city authorities in recent months to regenerate brownfield sites. The location is a post-industrial area north of the city centre, which is soon to be transformed into a vibrant mixed-use neighbourhood, with the bridge planned to continue a newly planned street and connect it to the south bank, where a former industrial estate will be regenerated into a cultural hub.
William Matthews Associates designed a 85 metre-long cost effective and materially efficient sinuous steel bridge, with a low-lying form that will sit unobtrusively within the re-landscaped riverbank. The bridge has been orientated on the north bank to run alongside the chimney tower of the Briess Malthouse, which will be saved as an emblem of the area’s industrial heritage. A wider soft landscaping scheme will mitigate flood risk by preserving the wild and natural character of the riverbank, providing a counterpoint to the rest of the river, which has been transformed into canals. At the bridge crossing point, the river basin will be widened to enable access for canoeing, kayaking, fishing and swimming.
The multi-lane bridge deck has a span of 28m, widening slightly on the outer curves to create stopping points and resting places for pedestrians. Four lanes are designated for car traffic, with outermost lanes designed primarily for trolleybuses. The main steel girder of the bridge superstructure separates motorised traffic from pedestrians and cyclists, while a one-way cycle lane in both directions and a separate pedestrian zone runs along the perimeter.
William Matthews, director at William Matthews Associates, stated: “Our winning scheme conceptually responds to the flow of the river with a slow, sweeping, sinuous form. The structure is simple, efficient, and not overtly expressed. It will sit in harmony with the towering fine brick chimney of the Briess Malthouse that will be preserved.”
Tenderstream Head of Research
This tender was first published by Tenderstream on 24.11.2021 here