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Kaunas Pedestrian and Cyclist Bridge

1st Prize Winner at International Design Competition
Kaunas, Lithuania

The Nemunas Bridge and the Canal Bridge

Two bridges will introduce new pedestrian and cycling routes between two Nemunas banks and the Nemunas Island. The smaller bridge will connect the island with the Old Town and the New Town; the main one – from the island to H. and O. Minkovskiu Street. Additional public spaces will be created at the beginnings of both bridges – the amphitheatre of the Nemunas Bridge with 360° panoramas and the Canal Bridge park entrance square. The levels of both bridges over the water will not interfere with ship passage and common aesthetic of the bridges will be united by their silhouette.

The bridges will act as a unified complex which will connect important developments of Kaunas city centre: the historical part of Kaunas; the Nemunas island; the future National Science and Innovation Center and M.K Ciurlionis Concert Hall; the industrial areas on the left bank in Aleksotas and the lower Freda districts.

The bridges and their composition of accesses will create convenient connections between river banks and island. They will also form organic local connections and create public spaces at the bridge foundations and the river.

The Canal Bridge is the bank extension that will create a public square towards the island. The park access is from the Firefighters' Palace side, which will evenly become narrow at the beginning of the bridge on the park side.

The foundations of the Nemunas Bridge will be finished with amphitheatres – an open public space for sitting with panoramic views and access to water activities.

The silhouette of the wireframe structure of the Nemunas Bridge will form a flat arch. As a result, the endings of the bridge will evenly integrate into the shapes of the river banks. The middle of the bridge will provide the optimal dimensions for the river passage. Due to its arch character and wireframe trusses, the Nemunas Bridge will have a minimal impact on panoramas from close and distant angles. It will become an icon of the city, which will emphasise the former port city's characteristics.

The bridge will unite the Firefighters crossroad - the intersection of Old Town and New Town, the Nemunas Island Park and the bank of Aleksotas.

The development of design of the bridges was lead by simple ideas. Their aim is to minimally express the pedestrian-cycle connection between the riverbanks and to expand it with panoramic public spaces. The center of the bridge is visually minimal – the foundations are formed and adapted to the local context. The composition begins with archetypical middle of the bridge, giving a specific character to its accesses. The line transforms in relation to the environment and extends to create a public space connecting the lower and upper terraces on the riverbanks. Transit trajectory at the junction will turn into a meeting point with 360° views of the city. For this purpose, the formed silhouette of a flat arch will allow to obtain the minimum passage in the river and develop the construction foundations, creating panoramic public spaces for locals to gather by the water. The design of the bridges is modest with modern technical details and tectonic wireframe silhouette, which reveals the structure of the construction. The style of the truss construction correlates to the cityscape of the former port and bridges on this section of the river.

Until the 20th century, Nemunas Island was an unurbanised natural formation with changeable shape of the island in shallow parts of the river. A port peninsula with railway and port infrastructure, The Winter Port, was established here in 1917. In 1974 the port was gradually extended into a park. It radically changed the coastline and abandoned the peninsula including port area that transformed into the current channel. Construction of important public buildings on the island began in the 21st century. 

The light wireframe construction of the Nemunas Bridge will be an iconic public space integrated into the Old Town neighborhood. The main bridge will resemble the character of the Nemunas Island port and the former truss bridges in the centre of Kaunas. This way, the new connection will reinforce the identity of the city and will give a new shape to the public space near the water. It will open up new views and remind of the former historical port city in the Nemunas waters.


In collaboration with KILD

Architects: Dominykas Daunys, Petras Isora, Ivane Ksnelashvili, Ona Lozuraityte

Team: Vilius Karieta, Mantas Markevicius, Romas Dulieba

Historian: Gediminas Kasparavicius

Status: 1st prize winner
Type: Pedestrian and Cyclist Bridge
Budget: €9M
Project year: August 2018
Location: Kaunas, Lithuania

Competition link: 
Project proposal link: