Dawid Roszkowski, Jerzy Sroka, Michal Vrba, Eliška Chrtková, Karolina Krajcikova, Anna Soóki-Tóth, Natalia Kozieł, Dominika Jezierska
support: Ola Krutnik
The Wolności Bridge (Liberty Bridge) has a complex history. It owes its final shape to contemporary implementation, as it was put into service in 1974. Originally it had a different construction and was called the Jubilee Bridge – it was created to commemorate the 55 years of the reign of Emperor Franz Josef I. In 1920, after the division of the city of Cieszyn, a border crossing was created on the bridge, which operated until 2007.
The Wolności Bridge is an important link in cross-border tourism. The Greenways Krakow-Moravia-Vienna cycle route also runs through here. Today, both sides of the road are pedestrianized. Earlier, before 1978 only one-way traffic to Poland took place there. The Wolności Bridge „connects” both parts of the city of Cieszyn with each other, as well as common infrastructure in a gas network since 1987. Its last renovation was carried out in 2010.
In addition to that, along the Olza river, the walking and cycling path is poorly shaded, neglected and has few benches, and speeding bikes are especially a great threat to pedestrians in the area of the Wolności Bridge. The Wolności Bridge, a reinforced concrete retaining wall in its vicinity, the area under the bridge, as well as the concreted part of the waterfront require aesthetic treatments, including the rear part of commercial buildings located on the street directly at the bridge and visible from the Czech side. The view of this part, visible from the side of Český Těšín, requires urgent measures for our times. The area around the bridge is visited by residents despite the lack of amenities and poor aesthetics of the surroundings.It became the subject of grassroots social initiatives, which is evident in the murals on the retaining wall in the immediate vicinity of the bridge, including recently in the graffiti „On Floaters from Olza” as part of the School of Art and Thinking.
For walkers, cyclists and many people practicing various forms of activity, it is an attractive place due to the proximity of the river. Families with children come here to feed ducks, and those enjoying walks with pets can appreciate the river as a place for their dog to cool down and drink water. Users appreciate the convenient location and proximity to Olza river and the City Forest – nature close to the city centre. They appreciate the nice view of the Czech riverbank and the good location – „close to everything” – as they say.
In addition, the bridge protects against rain, which is emphasised in surveys and interviews.Landscape diversity, the ability to stop the stroll in different places by turning into one of the connecting streets leading the city is an additional advantage of the place.
Graffiti artists especially took a liking to the retaining wall by the bridge and the pillar. The urban character of the place encourages artistic activity.
The design of a simple and pragmatic structure, in constant contact with both the river and the Czech side of the city, is immersed in the vegetation of the boulevards accompanying the Olza River. From the side of the street, the platform is low, which makes for an easy access. Whereas from the river side, due to the natural slope of the terrain, the horizontal surface of the platform is higher. Such a solution offers a beautiful, panoramic view of the Olza river, above the surrounding shrubs, and looking out to the Czech side of the city. The sequentially expanding structure gradually opens the pier towards the river, creating a place for both an individual rest and meetings in groups of people directly by the water.
The whole platform is covered with an intense blue colour, which, in contrast to the organic, intensely green vegetation around, gives a chance to create a place which strongly affects the senses. Seen from many perspectives, the object draws attention of passers-by and encourages active use.
Architect from Poland
In 2010 he graduated from the Faculty of Architecture at Warsaw University of Technology. After working for 4 years for Swiss architect Peter Zumthor he returned to Poland and founded his own design atelier in Warsaw in 2015. He teaches architectural design at Warsaw University of Technology.