Gdansk Footbridge, Poland

Client:   City Hall of Gdansk Poland
Value:    £2.5M
Status:  Competition

This draw footbridge proposal over the Motlawa River is a new connection between Gdansk’s Old Town and the Olowianka Island with 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. Architecturally, we sought to use forms that provided a sculptural interpretation of the vessels that use the river. We also wanted Gdansk’s ship-building industry to inform the bridge’s construction.

The concept is based on a sculptural interpretation of the vessels that use the river. 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 paterned golden hull takes inspiration from the city coat of arms, the golden crown providing the colour and the crosses providing the pattern of penetrations.

There are many ways to cross a river but it is the context that can and should differentiate it. The bridge becomes much more than merely a means of connecting in a perpendicular line between embankments. 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. Our bridge proposal seeks to cross the river diagonally from the foot steps 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.

Context Plan



View towards Old Town and Philharmonic building

Model view towards Philharmonic building

Model views of bridge approach & bridge detail