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Bridge Made of Ultra-High Performance Concrete by Ondřej Císler and Petr Tej


The bridge over the Dřetovice stream in Vrapice, near the city of Kladno, is located on a pedestrian trail that leads from the village to the cemetery. It is set in a remarkable natural context that, in a way, compensates for the urbanized public space of the village.

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The landscape around Vrapice is also geologically very interesting with findings such as fossilized shark teeth. The meadow around the bridge was often flooded and its immediate surrounding is characterized by both systematic human interventions and relative wilderness defined by constant changes due to the floods.

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The concept of the bridge bears a higher meaning; it is a magical portal between the world of the living and the dead, or a numinous object from the Space Odyssey. The unique architectural design explores the limits of lightweightness and subtlety of a pedestrian bridge, artistically based on the mesmerizing black and extremely technologically advanced material.

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The bridge is made from freeze-resistant ultra-high performance concrete (UHPC), grade C110/130, fiber-reinforced. Structural solution of the 10 m span and 0,4 m camber adequately lies in the double-curved geometry of the bridge, stabilizing the construction in both main directions and allowing easy bracing of the bridge. With 1,5 m width in the cross section and 1,4 m3 of material used for building it, the bridge weights approx. 3,5 tons.

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During the verification of the structural design and the concrete casting technology, a prototype was built and subjected to load testing. Pigment was added into the concrete mixture, surface patina etched and the key details hand sanded.

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Opposite to the bridge is “The Guardian”, a sculpture from the atelier of prof. Jan Hendrych. Among other things, sculptor Hendrych is a leading expert on Baroque sculptures placed in the context of bridges and landscapes and on their plastic modelling. The sculpture is based on the original Baroque archetypes (e.g. John of Nepomuk) and placed in the landscape set-up completing the entire spatial composition of the bridge.

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One of the main compositional themes is also the concept of the bridge as a plinth or a spatial context for the sculpture, made of a material analogous to that of the bridge.

General description: Bridge over the Dřetovice stream in the village of Vrapice, made of Ultra-High Performance Concrete; Studio: Aoc architects; Klokner Institute at CTU in Prague; Author: Ondřej Císler – Aoc architects; Petr Tej – Klokner Institute at CTU in Prague; Project location: Kladno – Vrapice, Czech Republic; Area: 19,5 m2; Cost ca. 27 000 €; Client: The City of Kladno; Photo credits: BoysPlayNice;

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