Urban Planning Competition

In the spring of 2012 I had the opportunity to participate in the Bridging Prague International Design Competition, an urban-planning event aiming at redesigning the banks of the Vltava River. The contest was open to both professional and amateur teams, looking for fresh ideas rather than architectural perfection.

The scope of the competition was the Vltava riverbank and its immediate context from Libeňský most (Bridge) to the north to Železniční most (Railway Bridge) to the south. The proposals were meant to use the existing potential of the Vltava River, define its connection with the city and lead to the creation of attractive public spaces, while respecting ecological, cultural, historic and economic aspects, as well as flood prevention.

In the end, there were over 500 entries, the best of which ended up in public exhibition at the National Theater Piazzetta. Unfortunately, our plan didn’t make it to the finals, but we still thought it was better than many that did, especially because some of the displayed plans failed to address all required aspects. 
Team 22

The amazing part of this experience was getting to work with some of my closest friends all of whom are multitalented idea machines.

  • Alex Went (UK/CZ) – writer, creator of the Praguestory.com architectural blog (team leader, key concepts, texts, photography)
  • Jim Freeman (USA/CZ) – writer, landscape architect (landscape drawings, key concepts, texts)
  • Peter Boyce le Couteur (UK/CZ) – musician, writer, artist (concepts, sketches)
  • Xavier Arnoult (FR) – mechanical engineer (additional photography)
  • Ken Nash (USA/CZ) – graphic designer, writer, musician (concepts, graphic visualizations)
  • Michaela Freeman (CZ) – graphic designer, writer (concepts, main plan layout, texts)

The Process

The entire process took over a month and included several miserably cold walks along the river (you couldn’t pay us enough to do this, but we happily did it for free out of enthusiasm) and a nice boat trip. There were many hours of photography, discussion, sketches, drawings, model-building, research, scanning, writing, editing and final-design. Although we all contributed our particular skills, it was clear that all six team members were equally comfortable with conceptual thinking, words and visuals. It was a true international collaboration and the kind of challenge that makes you think ‘I would have never guessed we could pull this off.’ We did and it was worth it for the experience.

Check It Out

The original submitted plan is a single A0 size sheet. I have sliced it to the smaller images included in this photo album. Please click on your full screen icon for the best viewing experience.

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