The Nemunas Island in Kaunas will be connected to the both quays of the river by two pedestrian and bicycle bridges, which will enable further integration of the island into the city, and, at the same time, expand the connection between the banks by new panoramic public spaces. This was revealed after announcing the winner – project ‘360’ – of the public competition for the idea of bridges, organized by the municipality. The architectural idea was proposed by the team of architects KILD and the transport and infrastructure design company ‘TEC Infrastructure’.
According to the winning concept, the pedestrian-bicycle connection between the both quays of the Nemunas river and the Nemunas Island will consist of two arched bridges – the smaller one, connecting the island with the Old Town and the New Town, and the larger one that spans the island and H. ir O. Minkovskių street.
The approaches to the both bridges will be provided with additional public spaces – amphitheaters – that organically extend into the existing context, from which one can admire the surrounding 360-degree panoramic view. The central parts of the bridges were designed in such a way that they would have the least impact on these panoramic views of the city. The larger bridge across the main riverbed will create an impression of a thin straight line.
Both bridges will be raised from the surface of the water only not to interfere with navigation, while their aesthetic integrity will be highlighted without the use of intermediate supports and by architecturally integrating public spaces. Vilius Karieta, the leading designer of the project, together with architects mastered architectural and technical solutions of the project. The manager of this project is Mantas Markevičius.
‘The Nemunas Island in Kaunas is a unique place that should be open up for the city as much as possible, by integrating it into social and cultural life. The new pedestrian and bicycle bridges will accelerate these processes, extend the city, and provide its residents and visitors with more freedom of movement, and more spaces to enjoy and admire the panoramic views of Kaunas. We are glad to be able to contribute to the project by working together with innovative professional partners who have proven their talent overseas’, says Arūnas Ruokis, the head of ‘TEC Infrastructure’.
Architect Petras Išora, a member of the KILD team, points out that the new concept of connecting the quays and the island was aimed at highlighting the local context, focusing on public spaces that extend the bridges, while applying more sophisticated architectural solutions for the bridges. At the same time, they should ensure a convenient and smooth movement between the island and different parts of the city.
‘According to the idea that we proposed, the link between the island and the quays opens new possibilities for pedestrian and bicycle traffic and also offers public spaces for people to spend time, relax, gather and admire the city – we highlight panoramic views of the Old Town, the Nemunas Island and the quays of Aleksotas. Architectural solutions of the bridges are modern and rather minimalistic, but the combination of the aesthetic expression of the semi-open arched girder structure and technical details, gives a hint of the former city port and its infrastructure. We also combined our solutions with the intended development of the Nemunas Island, and the constructions that are planned here’, says Petras Išora.
It is planned that M. K. Čiurlionis Concert Center and the National Science and Innovation Center ‘Science Island’ will be located in the Nemunas Island in the future. At the moment it hosts Žalgiris Arena and recreational areas.
The winners of the competition will sign a contract with the Kaunas City Municipality in the near future and will start the detailed design work of the new pedestrian and bicycle link across the Nemunas.
This is not the first project of the bridges developed by the KILD team of architects that has achieved recognition. Last year, the team from Vilnius won the first prize in the international competition for the project of the eco bridge in the city of Seoul and were awarded the “Global Lithuania” award for the promotion of the name of Lithuania by the President Dalia Grybauskaitė. KILD unites architects Ivane Ksnelashvili, Petras Išora, Ona Lozuraitytė and Dominykas Daunys.
TEC Infrastructure UAB is a part of the TEC group of companies operating in infrastructure, industry and energy design, consulting and project management. The group has 94 employees, 70 of which are qualified engineers. So far, TEC Infrastructure UAB has designed and developed a number of well-known Lithuanian infrastructure objects: Alytus pedestrian bridge, the arch near Žemaitkiemis on the A2 motorway, Jakai roundabout near Klaipėda, etc. At present, the Company implements the Rusnė flyover project.