Angel Lands

  • contemporary architecture

"Asadov Architectural Bureau" took part in a closed international tender for the best project of the new pedestrian and cyclist bridge in the center of Ukraine's capital Kiev.


The new bridge will link Kiev's two central parks - "Kreschaty" and "Vladimirskaya Gorka". The thing is that, while formally being two immediate neighbors, in actuality these two parks do not interact with each other in any way: "Vladimirskaya Gorka" is situated on the top and medium terraces of the Mikhailovskaya Mountain, while "Kreschaty" spreads over the bank of the Dnepr along the Vladimirsky Slope, with the large level difference getting in the way of joining these two parks into a single pedestrian area. Actually, this is what the contest was all about - finding the best possible architectural and engineering solution that would deal with the landscape obstacles and allow the pedestrians to freely come and go from one park to the other. And, because the bridge would be built in the heart of the Ukrainian capital, its appearance was to meet the most serious demands - the imposing edifice worthy of its proximity with the most famous sights of Kiev was at the same time to keep the harmony of the existing ecosystem perfectly intact. "Asadov Architectural Bureau" - the only Russian participant of this contest - based their architectural proposals specifically on the necessity to minimize the intrusion to the park areas. Proposing as "charitable" or even as "angelic" method of the bridge construction as possible, the architects even went as far as to develop its architectural bridge proceeding from its likeness with an angel.

The "angel" touched the ground in three points - with the tips of his wings and with his intermediate support that connects it to the center of "Kreschaty" Park. The support not only shortens the span of the bridge and changes its direction but also helps one to get as soon as possible from both parks to the Park Bridge that leads to the opposite side of the Dnepr. As for the "bird" shape that was given to the new construction, it allows for providing a direct link between the entrance areas of both parks.

The "wings of an angel" have a span of 89 and 111 meters respectively, each of them consisting of two girders bent vertically and horizontally to ensure spacial stability. Over the upper girder belt that looks like strongly elongated "X's" on the layout, there runs a pedestrian route, while over the lower girder belt that forms smooth arches, a more "extreme" route is laid, with a level difference, that is meant for cyclists, rollers, skaters, etc. By using this solution, the architects get the best of both worlds: on the one hand, the flows of the pedestrians and the cyclists are separated for the better part of the route, which ensures their safety, and on the other hand, it helped to render the silhouette of the bridge less dramatic at the expense of the "sagging" of the lower part and give the new construction a certain resemblance with the Arch of Friendship of Peoples.

Treating the intermediate support as the "body" of the angel, the authors use it for placing an extra volume that is meant to make the bridge even more attractive for the city population and tourists. On the layout, this volume has a shape of a slightly elongated hexagon, and it serves as a counterpoint of sorts where the people flows, coming from both sides, inevitably meet. On its top level, a sightseeing platform, named "Angel's Point" is created, commanding one of the most beautiful views of the city, while below it, the ice-cafe "Angel" is organized, where one can partake of the "food of the gods". The Asadov's architectural and "marketing" ideas do not end at this point though - the architects propose to place here what they call "Angel's Post". Here, according to the authors' plan, one will be able to buy a snow-white ribbon, make a wish, and, in token of addressing the angel, tie the ribbon to the railing of the bridge. "We think that such a tradition will appeal to the city people and that it will stick, which, in turn, will ensure for the image that is constantly changing and is constantly enriched" - says on of the authors of the project Andrew Asadov. The architect confesses: such ideas were basically not provided for in the specifications, but the very task of the contest - to develop not so much the structural design of the bridge, but rather a concept, or, if you want, ideology of connecting the two formerly absolutely self-sufficient parks, pushed them to developing out-of-the-box scenarios that would ensure the appeal of the place to the city people and meant to stress its status as a new attraction of Kiev.

Trying to minimize the use of lifting cranes and other heavy machinery, "Asadov Architectural Bureau" paid special attention to the scenario of the construction priorities. First, the central support with the cafe landing and a staircase is installed, then, between the support and the end landings, the temporary cable-stayed structures are built, upon which, in turn, the falsework for mounting the girders is installed. First, the bottom girder belt is assembled on the principle of flexural rigid thread, which can be assembled both from composite l-beams, as well as from reinforcing bars. After that, the upper belt with braces is installed, as well as the cross beams between the girders. The project provides for the bridge being finished with the decking plank of natural wood - as we remember, the bridge connects two parks and must be kin to them to a certain degree - while its main construction elements will be painted, according to the plan, the color of white, which, according to the architects, will help the new structure to fit in with the surrounding city panoramas as best as possible.

For all its simplicity and rationality, the Asadovs bridge can also boast an expressive and dramatic appearance and interesting architectural and planning design that promises to turn the trivial overpass from one park to another into an exciting architectural event.

Text by: Alexander Asadov, Andrey Asadov, Anna Martovitskaya
Translated by Anton Mizonov

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