Competition for an architectural concept of a pedestrian and cyclist bridge over the Vistula river

Design: 2017
Construction: competition entry
Competition organizer: Biuro Architektury i Planowania Przestrzennego Warszawy
Location: Vistula River banks in the vicinity of Karowa and Okrzei Streets

Design team:
Natalia Paszkowska, Marcin Mostafa, Boris Kudlička, Agnieszka Kacprzak, Krzysztof Jakubów, Wojciech Motyka, Aleksandra Grzybek, Robert Dobrowolski, Agnieszka Roś, Mateusz Musiał

Construction: Daniel Przybyłek

The designed bridge connects two banks of the Vistula river which are diametrically distinct in many respects, such as the mode of development, the functions fulfilled, natural features or popular symbols, to mention just a few.
The inhabitants of both sides of Warsaw travel extensively across the river, mainly while commuting to work and back home, doing business, visiting families or friends. However, it is not a well-balanced situation, the Praga district seems to be on the ‘losing’ side, an underestimated destination, especially as a place for spending leisure time. The erection of the National Stadium was expected to change it to some extend, but still the Varsovians and especially tourists tend to favour the left side of Warsaw as the part which has so much more to offer. Those who visit Praga are a bit cautious, rather selective and are more likely to join some guided tours.

Our new bridge presents both residents and visitors with an unrivalled opportunity of ‘being drawn’ into the very heart of the right-side Warsaw and appreciating all what constitutes its unique character and charm. The location of the left-bank bridgehead in Karowa street is really splendid, as it is in the Old Town, with crowds of people probably ending their tour exactly in this very place. Even if crossing the bridge was not their original intention, on seeing it they are bound to enter it, looking for better vista and they will probably carry on getting attracted by numerous functions offered on the bridge. Once they start walking across the river they will be discovering new perspectives and activities. Then they will reach a view tower which offers a magnificent view of the river, of beautiful Warsaw skyline, the Old Town and a brand new perspective on Praga. From this vantage point the plans for further discovering of Warsaw’s attractions can be made and a trip towards Praga will probably be continued.

The river flowing through the centre of a big city like Warsaw is attracting people with a promise of of an open space, fresh air, a vast panorama. Searching for good viewpoints both residents and visitors frequently gather in such places as the roof of Warsaw University Library (BUW), Świętokrzyski Bridge or the Vistula groyne. Thus the view tower will work as a magnet, strategically set on the right-bank bridgehead.

Each of the five terraces of the tower offers a different perspective and fulfills a different function.
The bottom one adheres to a recreational trail and can supplement its function with some sports attractions (e.g an open-air gym). The one on the footbridge level allows for a temporary stopover, e.g for servicing a bike, meeting friends or sheltering from the rain or the sun under the terrace roofing. Two upper terraces are suspended among tree crowns, offering us not only a splendid vista but a closer contact with nature as well.
Finally we enter the topmost terrace of the bridge. Hence opens an impressive, vast panorama of the Vistula river and its right bank – the Praga district.