The Gänsebachtalbrücke in Thuringia and the Erba footbridge in Bamberg are the prize winners
Winners of the 2014 German Bridge Construction Prize awarded on March 10 in Dresden are the railway bridge over the Gänsebachtal near Buttstädt in Thuringia, in the category “Road and Rail Bridges”, and the Erba footbridge in Bamberg in the category “Foot and Bicycle Bridges”. Honoured as the principal engineers were Prof. Dr.-Ing. Jörg Schlaich (Gänsebachtalbrücke) and Dipl.-Ing. Matthias Dietz, as well as Dipl.-Ing. Johann Grad (Erba footbridge) – who unfortunately passed away last year.
Designed by Jörg Schlaich, the 1,001 m long Gänsebachtalbrücke embodies a new kind of railway bridge. The technically and aesthetically perfect architectural structure fits perfectly in the setting of the low-lying Gänsebachtal valley, and is also narrower than all the railway’s previous concrete bridges. This succeeded through the innovative idea of splitting the long architectural structure into a total of ten blocks, each independently bearing all longitudinal and transverse loads and external influences, in order that no forces need to be transmitted along the length of the structure.
The Erba footbridge receives the German Bridge Construction Prize for 2014 not only because the idea of this bridge serving dual purposes is a remarkably sustainable solution, but also because the design and the associated change in the structural system represents a great engineering feat. In its final location, the bridge blends almost perfectly into the environment, and sets a new standard for elegance, lightness, and gracefulness.
Celebrating with the prize winners were some 1,000 guests at the German Bridge Construction Prize award ceremony held in the Audimax venue of the Technical University of Dresden. First awarded by the Federal Chamber of Engineers (BIngK) and the Association of Consulting Engineers (VBI) in 2006, honours are bestowed in the categories “Road and Rail Bridges” and “Foot and Bicycle Bridges”. In addition to the recognition of the architectural structure, each of the engineers – whose creative work was key to conception of the architectural structure – receives one of the prize sculptures.
The Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure (BMVI) supports the German Bridge Construction Prize as patron. The competition was also promoted by the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety. Deutsche Bahn AG is the main sponsor.
Presenters were: BIngK president Hans-Ullrich Kammeyer and VBI president Dr.-Ing. Volker Cornelius.
The German Bridge Construction Prize of the BIngK and VBI is awarded every two years to increase public awareness of the contribution of engineers to architectural heritage. The prize serves to honour creative engineering achievements in the supreme discipline of structural engineering.
A total of 37 applications were received for the 2014 German Bridge Construction Prize competition. Out of these, the jury chose to nominate three architectural structures per category and to select one victorious construction.
In addition to the winners, Gänsebachtalbrücke and Erba footbridge in Bamberg, the jury nominated the following structures for the 2014 German Bridge Construction Prize: in the category “Road and Rail Bridges”, the elevated train viaduct (Hochbahnviadukt) of the U2 rail line in the Berlin district Prenzlauer Berg; and, the Baakenhafenbrücke in Hamburg’s HafenCity district. Nominated in the category “Foot and Bicycle Bridges” are the Max-Gleissner Bridge in Tirschenreuth (in the Upper Palatinate), and the Bleichwiesensteg in Backnang near Stuttgart.
You will find more information and photos of the award ceremony, pictures of the short-listed architectural structures, as well as brief video profiles of all six nominated bridges in the web at: www.brueckenbaupreis.de.