October 20, 2010

Technical Monuments - Cable-stayed bridge in Ústí nad Labem

Cable-stayed bridge - Mariánský Bridge in Ústí nad Labem, designed by the renowned architecture studio Roman Koucký, is one of the most distinctive and disputed projects built in the post-November 1989 Czech Republic. Following years of lengthy discussions about location of the bridge, the city councillors decided to place it under the Mariánská Rock, a site best suited for the bridge's main role, i.e. combining the city's three quarters - the city centre, Krásné Březno on the left bank and Střekov on the right bank of the Labe river. The 70m high bridge was built in 1993 to 1998 and became the city's new dominant. The height is not the only feature attracting the attention of people: the impossible-to-overlook system of steel cables suspending the 170m long bridge is similarly provoking. The architect designed the number of cables, the height and shape of the pylon not only with respect to static but also to his artistic visions. For instance, the height of the pylon was to counterbalance the Mariánská Rock on the other side of the river. It also matches the height of the tower of the gothic church of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary nearby.

According to the Structural Engineering International (SEI), quarterly Journal of the International Association for Bridge and Structural Engineering (IABSE), it is one of the ten most beautiful 1990s world buildings. It has also become the most expensive local project in the area of transport infrastructure since 1948, financed by a city. The city had to postpone the project of reconstruction of the Mírové Square and other projects. Last year the bridge changed its owners: it has become the property of the Road and Motorway Directorate of the Czech Republic since June 26th, 2008.

Stamp Issue: 2010-10-20

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