Register: APR/26/2019, Submit: JUN/11/2019, Eligibility: Architects, designers, enthusiasts, companies, students; individually, teams up to 4 members, Fee: Architects, designers, enthusiasts, companies 90 USD, students 70 USD (NOV/01 – DEC/14/2018); architects, designers, enthusiasts, companies 120 USD, students 100 USD (DEC/15/2018 – FEB/22/2019); architects, designers, enthusiasts, companies 140 USD, students 120 USD (FEB/23 – APR/26/2019), discount for 3+ registrations from one university/school, Awards: 1st Prize: 3,000 USD, 2nd Prize: 1,500 USD, 3rd Prize: 500 USD, BB Student Award: 500 USD, BB Green Award: 500 USD, 6 Honorable Mentions
The largest national park in Latvia celebrates its 45th anniversary by tasking architecture enthusiasts with designing an entryway footbridge. Known for the scale of diverse wildlife and varied landscapes within, the Gauja National Park is a popular tourist attraction in one of the greenest and most naturally stunning countries in the world. With so many national parks across Eastern Europe, it can be hard for one to stand out. The Gauja National Park is not only one of the oldest and largest parks in the region, it is also home to a staggering array of wildlife, landscapes, and cultural landmarks.
Established in 1973, the Gauja National Park stretches over more than 90,000 hectares and includes a section of the Gauja Valley along the Gauja River, between between Valmiera and Murjani. The park features magnificent sandstone outcrops, rocks, cliffs and vast caverns such as Gutmanala, the most spacious grotto in the Baltic states; Kalejala, which is the longest; as well as the popular Velnala in Sigulda.
Formed between 350-370 million years ago, the reddish, yellow, and gray sandstone cliffs are some of the biggest tourist attractions in the park, with numerous cliffs edging over the Gauja River.
The Gauja National Park is also home to over 500 cultural and historical monuments. Dotted along the Gauja River, there are 19 ancient castle mounds, 6 medieval castles, and 3 towns. Many of the castles date back hundreds of years, and now feature museums that portray the history of the region all the way back to the 9th century.
Gauja National Park is also a home to adrenaline junkies, as visitors can experience a ride down the Sigulda Luge and Bobsleigh Track – the training venue of several Latvian Olympic medalists or even bungee jump from a cable car suspended 43 meters above the Gauja River. There is also ample opportunity for outdoor activities such as cycling, hiking, and canoeing during the summer months, and excellent skiing during winter months.
The Gauja National Park Footbridge competition is sourcing designs for a footbridge to serve as a symbolic entrance to the park in honor of its 45th anniversary. As the footbridge would be suspended over a road, it must be high enough for trucks and buses to pass underneath it. It must also be capable of bearing the weight of high volumes of pedestrian foot traffic, and should feature welcome and goodbye signage as well as park information stands.
Participants are tasked with thinking about the buildability of their designs, and ensuring that they correspond with the context of the national park and being welcoming to visitors, while at the same time displaying innovation and the potential to become an internationally recognized landmark.
- Welcome and goodbye signage for vehicles passing under the bridge
- Gauja National Park information stand (1m high x 1,5m wide)
- Potential to become a recognised landmark
- Resistant to heat, cold, rain, snow, and wind
- Environmentally responsible and cost-effective construction
- Low maintenance in terms of effort and costs
- Wheelchair accessible (the Latvia building accessibility guidelines are available for download from the competition website)
- Capable of bearing the weight of high volumes of pedestrian foot traffic
- High enough for trucks and buses to pass underneath it
The project qualities listed are minimum requirements; the competition brief is open to adaptation and improved development strategies.