Ehl & Koumar Architekti unveils footbridge with cantilevered viewpoints in Litomyšl

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Czech studio Ehl & Koumar Architekti has revealed a sculptural footbridge made from steel and concrete that features cantilevered viewpoints on both sides.

The footbridge, which creates a pedestrian route across a busy motorway in Litomyšl, the Czech Republic, is made from welded steel supported by exposed concrete pillars.

The footbridge leads across a motorway

“The heavy shapes of concrete pillars contrast to the lightweight steel structure and we like to use the exposed concrete for its almost tactile qualities,” Ehl & Koumar Architekti architect Tomas Koumar told Dezeen.

The bridge is constructed as a continuous beam with two spans and cantilevered ends that function as viewpoints, one of which provides a view of the nearby Loučná River.

It is made from welded steel and concrete

Ehl & Koumar Architekti designed the 56.6-metre-tall bridge using a Vierendeel truss with rectangular frames in order to make its deck as low as possible.

“We wanted to give the new footbridge the human scale, have its deck as low as possible and protect pedestrians from the busy I/35 highway,” Koumar said.

“Therefore, we designed the horizontal part as a spatial 3D Vierendeel girder.”

Cantilevers on both ends provide views

As well as using concrete for the pillars of the bridge, the studio created a concrete elevator tower that doubles as a structural support and faces Litomyšl’s historic city centre.

This is located on the axis of an existing staircase and is designed as a nod to the town’s baroque tower.


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“The elevator tower creates a new landmark visible through Ropkova Street from the historical square, where the old town hall is with its baroque tower,” Koumar explained.

“We were very careful designing the Vierendeel girder geometry and details to achieve harmonious proportions. “

The studio also added a staircase on the side of the bridge that didn’t already have stairs.

The bridge references the baroque tower in Litomyšl

Artist Ivana Šrámková created decorative graphics for the elevator entrances and the rear wall of the elevator tower, which the studio said “enlivens” the bridge.

“We have already worked with Ivana Šrámková on another projects,” Koumar said. “She brings a different and sensitive approach to our work. Her art enlivens the very simple structure with the human emotions.”

The project incorporates an elevator tower

The footbridge in Litomyšl was the winner of the 2023 Czech Architecture Award.

“A good bridge is like a good deed in an unkind world, an altruistic investment in the public realm, a way to connect people and places, designed in such a way that it is pleasing to experience and to look at,” the jury said.

“Litomyšl’s new footbridge is exactly that: an entirely convincing synthesis of architecture, engineering and urbanism, connecting two segments of the town, like a contemporary version of the Charles Bridge in Prague.”

Czech architecture is currently making waves, with Chybik + Kristof co-founder Ondřej Chybí telling Dezeen that the Czech Republic and other Eastern European countries are “becoming a hotspot for contemporary architecture”.

Other recent projects in the country include a Prague apartment with sculptural glass partitions and a triangular housing block.

The photography is by Tomáš Souček.

The post Ehl & Koumar Architekti unveils footbridge with cantilevered viewpoints in Litomyšl appeared first on Dezeen.

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