Premier for the German Bridge Construction Prize
On 13 March 2006 the VBI and BIngK will honour the prize winners
In the presence of some 900 guests, on March 13 the winners of the 2006 German Bridge Construction Prize competition were honoured in the Audimax lecture hall of the Technical University of Dresden. The prize, bestowed by the Federal Chamber of Engineers (BIngK) and the Association of Consulting Engineers (VBI) for the first time last year, is awarded in two categories. One winner is chosen in each of the categories “Road and Rail Bridges” and “Foot and Bicycle Bridges”. The German Federal Ministry for Transport, Construction and Urban Development supports and promotes the German Bridge Construction Prize as patron within the framework of the Building Culture initiative.
By means of the prize, in future to be awarded every two years, the BIngK and VBI want to jointly honour and increase public awareness of the contribution of engineers to building culture. The prize therefore serves to honour the creative engineering achievements in the supreme discipline of structural engineering: bridge building. The prize itself goes to the architectural structure, which must have been built in the past five years. Additionally, each of the principal engineers involved – whose creativity was key to the structure’s implementation, i.e. generally the conceptual creator – receives one of the prize sculptures.
Out of the 70 contestants for the first German Bridge Construction Prize, the jury nominated three architectural structures for the awards in each category, and will ultimately choose just one respective winner in each – to be be announced on 13 March 2006.
The following six architectural structures were nominated by the jury for the 2006 German Bridge Construction Prize:
Category “Road and Rail Bridges”
In this category the Luckenberger Bridge, in Brandenburg on the Havel, was nominated; the principal engineers are Peter Poitsch and Thomas Kolb. The rationale for the jury’s decision: “The Luckenberger Bridge is a good example of the way that innovative construction methods and material combinations enable especially economic structures.” The bridge is thoroughly well-crafted and – with its sleek, elegant lines that correspond to the flow of forces – fits superbly into the difficult urban constructional environment.
The bridge spanning the Wilde Gera river gorge in the Thuringian Forest, designed by Dr. Roland Wölfel, convinced the jury “as Germany’s largest concrete arched bridge (with an arch span of 252 m), characterised by extraordinary elegance”. The construction of an arch on this scale, using the cantilever method, represents an extraordinary engineering feat. It is the bridge that makes the dramatic nature of the deep gorge section truly perceptible, said the jurors in praise.
Also nominated by the jury in this category was the railway bridge over the Danube river near Ingolstadt, the principal engineers being Andreas Keil and Gerhard Pahl. The rationale for the decision stresses that: “The design impressively demonstrates that stylistically and technically innovative design solutions are also possible for railway bridges, despite the very high loadings placed on them.” This bridge disproves the general view that railway bridges have to be massive, rigid and heavy.
The “Foot and Bicycle Bridges” category
In this category, the jury nominated the La-Ferté footbridge in Stuttgart-Zuffenhausen, designed by Dr. Matthias Schüller, praising it as “an architecturally engineered structure where everything is perfectly attuned, and which superbly blends into its surroundings”. The jurors extolled the “low-maintenance and sustainable construction design of exceptional elegance, which not only pleases the observers but also offers an experience to pedestrians.”
In addition, the wooden bridge in the Forstbotanischer Garten Tharandt (Tharandt botanical forest garden, Saxony) was nominated; Uwe Fischer is the principal engineer. The jury found that: “The wooden bridge for pedestrians winds its way gracefully through the valley, a dense hardwood forest, and offers exceptional views of the treetops at eye-level.” New and innovative in this successful architectural structure was the layered design, comprised of individual elements with hidden links.
The third nomination in this category went to the bridge over Gahlensche Strasse in Bochum, designed by Knut Göppert. According to the jury, it is one of the world’s first double-curved, unilaterally-supported suspension bridges. “The architectural structure is free from any embellishments and impresses with its sophisticated design, as a deliberate counterpoint its rather dreary surroundings, and sets standards for the future development in this area.”
The awards will be presented by BIngK president, Dr. Karl Heinrich Schwinn, and VBI president, Dr. Volker Cornelius. Furthermore, Federal Minister for Construction and Housing Wolfgang Tiefensee will discuss building culture and innovative engineering performance, and Deutsche Bahn (DB) CEO Hartmut Mehdorn will talk about DB’s commitment as a client to building culture, and to the German Bridge Construction Prize.