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Visitors to the Giant Mountains will be able to cross mountain streams and gullies safely and with dry feet. Six new footbridges were designed and built by student teams from Faculty of Architecture of Czech Technical University in Prague. They were presented to the public on Tuesday 20 June in the presence of the project partner, the Krkonoše National Park Administration. The footbridges will be on display in front of the faculty building throughout the summer, and will span the mountains in spring next year.

The student footbridges first appeared in the highest Czech mountains in 2019. At that time, the Krkonoše Mountains administrators selected locations where the wooden structures of the old footbridges had reached the end of their service life. Thanks to the students' inventiveness, the installation of five imaginative constructions stood out from the usual replacement of outdated wooden elements. The set of footbridges and shelters, which were implemented a year later, won the 2022 Public Investor's Achievement award at the Krkonoše Architecture Awards.

A total of 47 students from the Institute of Design II of Faculty of Architecture are participating in the design-build project, in which ideas are brought to realization with their own hands. "The administration of the Krkonoše National Park cares not only for the unique mountain ecosystems, but also takes care of quality architecture on its territory in the long term. I am therefore very pleased that the cooperation with the Krkonoše National Park continues and that our students were able to translate their designs from paper into real buildings. They designed the footbridges to be beautiful, to fit into the unique natural environment, to be easy to dismantle, to require no complicated maintenance and to withstand the extreme climate," says Dalibor Hlaváček, Dean of the faculty.

Part of the work on the project is also negotiating with suppliers, drawing up a budget, organizing the entire construction process or promotion. The inventiveness of the final solutions is suggested by the names the students gave to their footbridges:

210 bpm as a memory of the high heart rate experienced by the Seho-Poláček studio team on the avalanche-prone slope on the way from the Obří důl valley to Sněžka.

Hranolky, that's the name of their footbridge over the Pudlava river, given by the students of the Hlaváček-Čeněk-Minarovič studio. It will be located on the blue hiking trail leading from Špindlerův Mlýn to Labská bouda chalet.

Kokrháč, follows the historical name of the nearby mountain Kotel. A team from the Kordovský-Vrbata studio worked on the footbridge over the Boudecký brook on the Krakonoš Trail connecting Horní Mísečky and Dvoračky areas.

The Klínovvka footbridge over the bed of the Klínový Brook, whose two v's, encrypted in the name by the Valouch-Stibral studio team, refer to the main supporting element of the footbridge, the Vierendeel beam.

Wood or steel? The team of the St. Peter's Catwalk studio Mádr spent a long time examining material concepts. The winner was the exotic wood azobé of the Fošínka footbridge, which will extend the life of the bridge deck many times over. The second studio team designed a footbridge over the Fries Gorge, at the confluence with the Klin Brook near the Elephant Falls, so modest that it will hardly be seen, simply Nelávka.

The footbridges are designed for safe operation and their material design meets the demanding climatic conditions. Most of the footbridges can be transported to site without the use of conventional heavy equipment. "After the first five footbridges, followed by the shelters, this year's six footbridges are another confirmation of the good cooperation between Faculty of Architecture of Czech Technical University and Krkonoše National Park Administration. We are pleased that we can contribute to the educational concept of design-build and at the same time address the current need for the renewal of tourist infrastructure," says Robin Böhnisch, Director of the KRNAP Administration.

All design-build projects of the FA CTU Institute of Design II are published on the website of the  1:1 lab platform.

Photos from the opening are available at this link. Author of photos: Iveta Valentová

Visualization of all the presented footbridges can be found here.

The footbridge over the Pudlava River, nicnamed Hranolky


The Hlaváček–Čeněk–Minarovič studio


Project leadership: Dalibor Hlaváček, Martin Čeněk, Tomáš Minarovič

Student team: Radim Baláž (concept author), Daniela Haladová, Petr Eibisch, Veronika Kudrnová, Alena Richterová, Jan Stuchlík, Martin Sýkorský, Michal Zapletal

Back turned to Špindl, front to Labská. Ha! The footbridge! We waded through the drifts to finally see it, buried under the snow. There it was! No railings. The rails will replace the inadequate footbridge on the blue tourist route connecting Špindlerův Mlýn with Labská bouda chalet. The footbridge crosses the Pudlava river, offers a view of the waterfall and turns the other side towards the Labský důl. The atmosphere of the place is emphasised by the smell of wood and the sound of running water. The design responds to the natural environment in its materiality and colour. The load-bearing structure and the walking surface are made up of ten longitudinally placed solid larch prisms. The visually predominant wood is complemented by subtle corten detail. On the downhill side, the footbridge is framed by a subtle railing, while on the opposite side, a bench serves as its function, providing an unobstructed view of the Pudlava Waterfall. The simple design does not compete with the place, the footbridge tries to be a natural part of it.


Visualizations and photos for download


Footbridge over the Boudecký brook, Kokrháč

The Kordovský–Vrbata studio

Project leadership:: Petr Kordovský, Ladislav Vrbata

Student team: Petr Meloun (concept author), David Ludvík, Jonáš Klvaň, Petr Matyáš, Zuzana Nucová, Jan Pelikán, Adéla Plašilová, Veronika Pokorná, Michal Pospíšil

The Kokrháč footbridge is located on the Krakonošova cesta connecting Horní Mísečky and Dvoračky, where it crosses the Boudecký Brook. The surrounding environment consists of a dense forest, its quiet atmosphere is complemented only by the gurgling of the stream and the squawking of the grouse. The main load-bearing structure of the footbridge consists of two HEB profiles, which are reinforced by three transversely placed I profiles. The footbridge is flanked by railings made of welded rectangular plates. The walking part consists of larch prisms placed on spikes, which also serve as an anchoring element of the railing to the main supporting structure. The aim is to keep all joints concealed and to prevent leakage and degradation of the material. The easy assembly of the footbridge and the possible replacement of the wooden elements are key points of the concept.


Visualizations and photos for download

Footbridge over the Friesovou strouhou, Nelávka

The Mádr–Tomš studio

Project leadership: Josef Mádr, Štěpán Tomš

Student team: Tereza Smažinková (concept author), Petra Biliková, Sabina Ježková, Šimon Mezovský, Matěj Střecha

We imagined a modest looking footbridge for a modest place. What emerged was a footbridge so plain that you can't actually see it. And so the concept of the NONFOOTBRIDGE was born. A bathtub filled with dirt and rocks. The journey of finding the right material for the structure to last as long as possible began. We arrived at the key element of the design... The LARSSEN WALL, which was the perfect solution for our project. The element will handle the harsh conditions resulting from the environment and the walking layer well. The footbridge is complemented by a minimalist RAILING made of bent steel reinforcement that completes the concept properly.  And what is the BEST part?  The estimated service life of the footbridge is at least 50 YEARS!


Visualizations and photos for download


Footbridge in Svatý Petr, Fošínka

Mádr–Tomš studio

Project leadership: Josef Mádr, Štěpán Tomš

Student team: Václav Železník (concept author), Samuel Boroviak, Ester Lucia Kohútová, Monika Pečená, Juraj Vronka, Daniil Solovev, Petr Sulan, Natálie Zdražilová

The footbridge is located in Svatý Petr, on the boundary between the intravilán and extravilán on the footpath under Údolní Street. It leads over the Svatopetrský brook, it is laid parallel to the raft and the visitor can see the whole of it. The construction of the footbridge consists of 17 timber joists, which are laid in height and are tightened by threaded rods. This makes the bridge deck subtle, but at the same time it is structurally sound as the main load-bearing structure. The railings are made of galvanised steel. The railing is supported by a crawler rail attached to threaded rods to which slender steel profiles are welded. The use of exotic wood and ebony prolongs the life of the bridge deck many times over.  In the Krkonoše National Park, it will have to withstand moisture from the stream and the surrounding area, as well as harsh winters.


Visualizations and photos for download


Footbridge near Trkač, the 210bpm

Seho–Poláček studio

Project leadership: Hana Seho, Jiří Poláček

Student team: Štěpán Mareš (concept author), Martina Divišová, Natálie Poláková, Lucie Tiralová, Roman Totušek, Michaela Vilímková

The water is murmuring, nature is waking up and our steps, still light, are advancing through the valley. We are humbled by the peaceful rebirth of nature. Before we have time to enjoy all the beauty, the path becomes steep, the nature raw and the step heavy. The heart rate increases disproportionately to the altitude. 210 bpm. The water is roaring, it's starting to snow, it's freezing. The road winds and ends at its biggest bend, at Rudny Creek. The creek bed has broken the path and an avalanche has enveloped it. The shape of the footbridge completes the curvature of the path from the Obří důl to Sněžka summit. It is made of metal in order to withstand external adverse conditions. The supporting profiles of triangular cross-section prevent the accumulation of water on the surface of the structure. The footbridge is divided into three parts that can be easily transported to the site.


Visualizations and photos for download


The Klínovvka footbridge

Valouch–Stibral studio

Project leadership: Štěpán Valouch, Jan Stibral 

Student team: Veronika Vávrová (concept author), Timotej Hlaváček, Klára Hrdličková, Karolína Hustá, Karolína Myšková, Ondřej Pecháček, Laure Philippe, Petra Rychtarčíková, Linh Ha Trinh, David Vintera

The footbridge is long, utilitarian in appearance, respectful of natural wealth, yet durable, massive and distinctive. A new steel footbridge structure, complete with a wooden walking section, replaces three wooden logs. A seemingly design addition, the handrail, actually forms the main load-bearing element of the footbridge, the Vierendeel beam. The almost 12-metre-long structure is composed of twelve repeating segments. It crosses the riverbed of the Wedge Creek obliquely, directly respecting the existing pedestrian route. Its material solution in combination with its inaccessible location makes the footbridge all the more surprising.

Visualizations and photos for download


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