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WSP Finland wins a prominent bridge design competition in Helsinki

WSP Finland has won a remarkable international bridge design competition. The bridge proposal ‘Gemma Regalis’ connects downtown Helsinki to the Laajasalo district, and - after construction – it will create one of the most visible landmarks in Helsinki. The strengths of our work were aesthetics, cost-effectiveness and suitability to purpose.

 

The Kruunusillat bridge competition is considered to be the most significant design competition to have taken place in Finland during the last 10 years. 

The winning entity consists of two separate bridges which will serve cyclists, pedestrians and trams. The main bridge, which spans over the Kruunuvuorenselkä, is a cable-stayed bridge with a single pylon supporting two equal cable-stayed 250 m-long main spans. The total length of the main bridge is 1167 m and the diamond-shaped pylon is 135 m above sea level. 

An elegant new landmark for Helsinki 

"We are very proud of our win. Along with us, there were large, international, highly-recognized design consultancies. Our strengths were deep knowledge on bridge design and understanding the area as a functional entity. We didn’t just design, but reflected also aesthetics, costs, traffic volumes and forms in the bridge area. Our aim was to find a cost-effective solution with high structural efficiency, and the bridge will be built with well-tried and recognized building methods," Chief Designer Sami Niemelä stated. 

"The project challenged us. Due to the Korkeasaari zoo in the bridge area, the traffic volumes are high, and we had to find the best solution in combining tramway, cyclists and pedestrians. Finally we proposed a solution whereby tram traffic will be at the same level as the other traffic," said the architect Terhi Tikkanen-Lindström. 

"The prestressed concrete girder bridge Gemma Regalis will be part of the large outdoor area ‘Helsinki Central Park’, with protected waterfronts. This fact challenged lighting, since the bridge had to be kept as a discreet entity. We wanted to minimize ambient light reflecting the city environment. Therefore, the pylon’s three-dimensional forms were highlighted by directing lights along the pylon’s edges. This means that the strongest light will be kept within the pylon, without being directed to the sky," Lighting Designer Pia Salmi described. 

Our working group consisted of almost 20 specialists from different fields, including all main infrastructure areas such as bridges, lighting, environment and ground engineering. As an external project team member, we also had a British bridge engineer, Martin Knight. 

Further information: 

Head of Bridges Unit, Mr Sami Niemelä, tel. +358 400 157 998 

More about the bridge design competition:
http://www.kruunusillat.fi/bridge-design-competition