BRIDGE ACROSS NEMUNAS RIVER IN KAUNAS TERRITORY LANDSCAPE
We were commissioned to develop technical design project for the landscape of vast infrastructural territory that will surround newly designed bridge (by Process Office Architects) across Nemunas river in Lithuania’s second largest city Kaunas. Our main aims were to propose rational yet well designed pedestrian and cyclist connections, to soften the infrastructural environment that is foreign to human scale by carefully selecting planting and materials, and to increase the ecological value of these infrastructural spaces by specifying species rich and habitat enhancing planting selection.
Location: Kaunas, Lithuania
Architects: Process Office
Current Status: Ongoing
Site Area: ~10Ha
Stage: Technical Project
Architects: UAB Process Office
Client: Kaunas’ Municipality
PHOTOGRAPTH OF EXISTING LANDSCAPE OF NORTHERN BANK OF NEMUNAS RIVER
As we joined the project at a later stage we put great efforts to develop high quality detailed technical information that would succeed to maintain high standards of design for this territory throughout procurement procedure. One of great challenges was to make sure that the ecological value of the existing natural environment would at the minimum be restored to its current state after the end construction works. Instead of relying on standard monocultural lawn products we designed different seed and planting mixes for each different habitat type found across the site and specified species native similar environments found along Nemunas river.
GENERAL ARRANGEMENT PLANS FOR THE TERRITORY SURROUNDING NEW BRIDGE ACROSS NEMUNAS RIVER IN KAUNAS, 1:250 @ A0
While designing pedestrian and cycling paths we wanted to challenged established standards of concrete river embankment design and, where possible, suggest less engineered and more natural paths. We specified different mixes of pebbles, gravels and boulders to articulate a more natural condition of river washing its shores and use them to protect the banks from erosion and to place under under the bridge where absence of direct daylight would prevent any vegetation from growing. While making use of natural topography at the southern shore of the river we designed small observation area with big wooden bench and a clump of Alnus cordata trees to enable people to get closer to the water within a natural setting of wet meadow. This space would open up to the drama of the confluence of the two biggest rivers in Lithuania with the outline of Kaunas old town behind it.
At the southern extent of the site behind Užnemunė street we proposed to replant wide infrastructural strip of land with mixed species of deciduous forest trees in order to expand the natural woodland in the southern slopes of river Nemunas. At the close proximity to our site this woodland area is preserved as natural reserve due to a particular species of bug that lives in the rotten trunks of fallen trees. Moreover, good part of the reserve consists of fraxinus trees that are being affected by the dieback. As a result our tree species suggestions are based on selecting trees that would maintain the majority of companion flora and fauna species that are associated with ash trees.
DETAILED PLAN AND SECTION THROUGH THE BRIDGE SHOWING LANDSCAPE ARRANGEMENT BELOW. DIFFERENT GRAVELS, PEBBLES AND BOULDERS ARE USED TO COVER THE EXPOSED SOIL THAT OTHERWISE WOULD NOT BE SUITABLE FOR ANY PLANTS TO GROW DUE TO THE SHADOWS CAST BY THE BRIDGE
DETAILED SECTION OF THE OBSERVATION AREA AT THE SOUTHERN BANK OF THE RIVER WITH ALNUS CORDATA TREES AND BIG WOODEN BENCH