New bridge over river Douro in Porto

Bridges along the Douro River, individually and as a whole, occupy a unique place in the historical heritage of bridge engineering.

They are an integral part of the Douro valley, forming an iconic ensemble that represents and unites the cities of Porto and Vila Nova de Gaia.

At the basis of our proposal is the maximum respect for the city, the landscape, the river and its bridges. Rather than competing with them, the new bridge participates in their quest of aesthetic, technical and avant-garde excellence.

A new connection between these two urban centres, which solely includes public transport (metro), cycle paths and pedestrian lanes, represents an opportunity to promote sustainable tourism, decreasing carbon footprint per capita and overall ghg emissions.

Our proposal comprises a combination of a composite (steel and concrete) truss deck, two large V-shaped concrete piers and two additional piers on the Porto side. Not to interfere with the view of the surroundings, no structural element protrudes over the deck.

The central piers give a powerful identity to the entire bridge as an architectural object. The careful design of its shape – hexagonal section – creates several planes that reflect light differently, breaking the visual impact of its size.

The composite truss of the deck places special emphasis on horizontality, transparency and lightness.

Its conception follows that of a Warren truss at mid spans, gradually transforming into a Pratt truss towards the supports, increasing the section of the diagonals as it approaches the support areas.

Besides being a nod to Porto’s traditional historic bridges, the choice of steel, a material that can incorporate a high quantity of recyclables and is entirely recyclable in itself, is largely driven by our commitment to sustainability. Using recycled steel generates significant savings in energy consumption, raw materials and water.

With this intrinsic relationship between geometry and structure, this proposal respects and is naturally integrated into the iconic ensemble of the bridges along the Douro River, establishing a counterpoint of perfect scenic harmony with Arrábida concrete arch bridge.

Our proposal is the result of the cooperation of an international multidisciplinary team: IDEAM, S.A., Zaha Hadid ArchitectsQUADRANTE GroupOOAU and the Landscape Architect Prof. Sidonio Pardal.

Congratulations to the three shortlisted solutions.

“Simplicity is not a goal in art, but we achieve simplicity in spite of ourselves by approaching the real meaning of things”, Brancusi.