Knight Architects and WSP Finland Win Helsinki Bridge Competition

700 Gemma Regalis

WSP Finland and bridge experts London based Knight Architects and have triumphed in an open design competition for a three km bridge in Helsinki. The Anglo-Finnish team reached the shortlist after more than 50 entries were whittled down to a final ten during the process of the competition, which was launched in 2011.

The Kruunusillat (Crown Bridges) competition was arranged by the City of Helsinki in order to establish a link between the new waterside community of Kruunuvuorenranta and the centre of the capital. To be used by cyclists, trams and pedestrians, the bridge will form a long-lasting construction synonymous with Helsinki. It will also be Finland’s longest bridge structure.

The proposed “Gemma Regalis” bridge is a symmetrical cable-stayed structure with a central 135m-tall pylon shaped like a slender, tall diamond – a distinctive feature referencing the historic crown ownership of the bay area. This unique pylon supports two 250m spans, softening the environmental impact of multiple supports.

The bridge’s cable-stayed form offers a strong nautical theme, with the twin planes of cables creating a comforting sense of enclosure above the crossing’s central length.

Commenting on the plans, the Crown Bridge jury concluded: “An undeniable merit of the entry is the openness of the underside of the bridge, which diminishes its intrusive effects on the landscape. The bridge’s alignment curves beautifully and with the semblance of grace over the open part of the sea bay. The cable-stayed construction has achieved an extremely light and spacious bridge. The columns under the bridge, as well as the high pylon, have been shaped with care. They are slim and stylish, and the pylon’s open centre lightens its appearance still further.”

Richard Greenan