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City on the Bridge. A project from Poland in the Top 50 of the international competition

09 of August '22

The project, authored by Piotr Gajdka of Gdansk University of Technology and Zuzanna Boberek and Alicja Krzeminska of Swietokrzyska University of Technology, made it to the Top 50 list of The Micro Housing 2022 international competition. The Bridge Town concept is a proposal to develop bridges, overpasses and flyovers in the center of cities into housing complexes. As an example, the authors chose Berlin's Mühlendamm Bridge, which is expected to be free of automobile traffic in the future.

The aim of The Micro Housing 2022, organized by Impact Competition, was to highlight the importance that small-scale architecture can have in the face of the housing, economic and climate crisis. The competition task was to create imaginative, experimental architectural solutions that respond to the current demands of the housing market in large cities. The organizers were looking for modular, innovative housing solutions with which to create a contemporary community.

Participants were asked to prototype micro-housing units that would reflect the needs and culture of a selected housing community in a selected city. The project was to be made for one hundred potential residents. The premise should be both functional and aesthetically pleasing, and the area of a single unit, designed for about four users, should not exceed 106 square meters. The designed apartments should include a place for relaxation, a kitchen, a bathroom and a common space. The design of the micro-apartment complex should also include appropriate transportation solutions.

Projekt Bridge Town na moście w Berlinie

Bridge Town project on a bridge in Berlin

© Piotr Gajdka, Zuzanna Boberek, Alicja Krzemińska

Poles on the Top 50 list

The works submitted for the competition were evaluated by an international jury consisting of: Doan Thanh Ha (H&P Architects, Vietnam), Joe Chikamori (07BEACH, Japan), Mark Foster Gage (Mark Foster Gage Architects, USA), Sebastian Irarrazaval (Sebastian Irarrazaval Arquitecto, Chile), Sun Dayong (Penda China, China), Aristides Dallas (AristidesDallas Architects, Greece) Peter Pichler (Peter Pichler Architecture, Italy), Ludwig Godefroy (Ludwig Godefroy Architect, Mexico), James Shen (People's Architecture Office, China), Liz Walsh (Cumulus Studio, Australia). They awarded three main prizes (First Prize went to Henry Smith from the United States for his Occupy the streets project), two special mentions, ten honorable mentions, and announced the Top 50 list, which included two projects from Poland. One of them is Bridge Town by Piotr Gajdka, Zuzanna Boberek and Alicja Krzeminska.

Projekt Bridge Town, elewacja

The authors chose the Mühlendamm Bridge as the site of the estate

© Piotr Gajdka, Zuzanna Boberek, Alicja Krzemińska

housing development on berlin bridge

Our project focuses on the centers of highly urbanized cities where car traffic is restricted for reasons of safety, ecology and comfort of residents. We have taken bridges, overpasses and flyovers under our workshop, which, due to their transit character, will have to be redefined from a functional point of view. Although our idea can be implemented in a variety of spaces and contexts for the project, we decided to choose the Mühlendamm Bridge located within the Berlin ring. This choice is related to the fact that the development area is to be almost completely free of car traffic in the future," the authors explain.

Projekt Bridge Town, rzuty modułów

plans of the residential modules

© Piotr Gajdka, Zuzanna Boberek, Alicja Krzemińska

micro houses instead of cars

The main idea of the Polish architects was to try to fill the gap left by car traffic on bridges, overpasses and flyovers by micro houses. To avoid overloading the bridge structure, they proposed a lightweight steel frame structure and finishing materials such as pretty plastic. Moreover, to increase the load-bearing area, they proposed steel cantilevers that transfer the weight of the houses and observation decks to the bridge supports. To minimize the weight of the complex, they assumed that the tallest building is three stories high.

Projekt Bridge Town, przekrój

Each module is equipped with photovoltaic panels,
and units located directly at the edge of the bridge additionally with water turbines

© Piotr Gajdka, Zuzanna Boberek, Alicja Krzemińska

modular solutions

An important element of the project is ecological solutions. Each module is equipped with photovoltaic panels, and the units located directly at the edge of the bridge are additionally equipped with water turbines. Users of the houses are couples and families with two children. The proposed solution is modular, so the dwellings can be easily enlarged, and users arefree to shape the space and give it functions. In line with the idea of a productive city, the modules can be, for example, apartment buildings, a bakery, or a café.

With another migrant crisis erupting through the war in Ukraine, we would like our houses to be able to serve people who had to leave their homes and are looking for a small apartment that is easy to build, the authors add.

Read also about the design of modular houses by Zuzanna Slabik.


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