Libeň Bridge could become apartments

ANO’s candidate for Prague mayor calls for a futuristic park over the Vltava

A new plan for Libeňský most (Libeň Bridge) calls for placing modern-design apartments and grassy fields on top of transportation tunnels.

The proposal was put forward by Petr Stuchlík, a businessman who is running for Prague mayor in the upcoming municipal election on the ANO movement ticket. The elections take place Oct. 5–6.

The plan was designed by architect Jaromír Pizinger

Libeňský most earlier this year was found to be in emergency condition and was temporarily closed until sections could be propped up from underneath to prevent a possible collapse. Since then there has been a debate over whether it should be repaired or replaced.

Those who want it repaired point out it is a unique example of its type of modern architecture and should be preserved. The bridge, though, does not have landmark status.

Candidate Stuchlík dismisses the preservation movement as something that preserves the status quo but does not help people.

“If a new bridge is to be built, it should be something that will return Prague to the map of world architecture. Something we'll be proud of. Something that will improve Libeň and the surrounding area. Not an average bridge that would fit more on the highway,” Stuchlík said on Facebook.

“And that's how the new Libeňský most could look. It would be a residential bridge in which we would build beautiful apartments for city employees, for police officers, for nurses, for firefighters. It would be great. And a few more expensive luxury apartments would help us finance the whole project — a self-financing bridge,” he added.

The proposal is not a final answer, as an architectural competition still has to take place. He said the proposal is meant to start a discussion of whether Prague wants a “to build a 21st-century building.”

He added that the height of the building would not interfere with Prague’s protected monument zone, and property values in the area would increase.

Architect Pizinger said his design is a vision for the future. “Why are bridges built just for transport, why can’t people live on them? When I found out that the Libeňský most had to be destroyed, I wanted to offer an alternative, and my dream of living above the water,” he said.

There is already opposition to the idea. District mayors on both sides of the bridge would rather something different.

Prague 8 Mayor Roman Petrus (ČSSD) says that getting approval for the new project will take too long, and he prefers something that can be implemented right away due to the condition of the bridge.

Prague 7 Mayor Jan Čižinský (Praha Sobě) wants to preserve the current bridge due to its unique architectural character. A modern bridge with housing on top could go elsewhere in the city where there is a need for a new bridge. Čižinský also favors a more rapid solution.

Adam Scheinherr, a candidate from the group Praha Sobě, posted on the Facebook page for Libeňský most Nebourat, Nerozšiřovat (Libeň Bridge Don’t Destroy, Don’t Widen) that the proposal is completely inappropriate in the context of other Prague bridges, and that it is just a headline-grabbing ploy from ANO. “Unfortunately, the design creates a monumental concrete work that belongs in the periphery of the city and not the historical center,” he said.

He also prefers solutions to link Holešovice to Karlín that will be finished much sooner and also relieve traffic problems, such as creating a new bridge and also repairing the existing ones.

City Hall so far has favored leaving the existing support pillars of Libeňský most and building a new, wider bridge on top of them that does not look like the original bridge.

Libeňský most has never been repaired since it opened 90 years ago. It was gradually loaded with more intensive traffic and was also damaged by floods in 2002.

The Ministry of Culture has declined to call the bridge a cultural monument. Conservationists from the National Heritage Institute (NPÚ) want to preserve the bridge, though.

The concrete bridge was designed by architects Pavel Janák and František Mencl, and it opened April 29, 1928, for the 10th anniversary of Czechoslovakia.

The bridge was originally called Masarykův most and was called Baxův most in 1939 and '40, and then Libeňský most from 1940 to '45, then Baxův most again from 1945 to '52. It was Stalingradský most from 1952 to '62 and then Libeňský most since then.

Almost one-fifth of 700 bridges in the capital city are in poor, very poor or emergency condition, according to a report submitted in January to City Hall’s Transportation Committee by the Technical Administration of Roadways (TSK).

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