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Competition Open Call

Bridge commission at The Irish National War Memorial Garden


The Commissioners of Public Works in Ireland are seeking proposals from an architect-led team for the design of a Dublin bridge at The Irish National War Memorial Garden.

Submissions should include 4 elements, namely:

1.         A new Pedestrian and Cycle Bridge which will span the River Liffey, and connect the war memorial gardens and an existing cycleway,
2.         be a  formal ceremonial entrance at the Chapelizod Road side of the river, and,
3.         have an open Plaza space linking this entrance to the  bridge for ceremonial occasions,
4.         suitably land formed and landscaped,

to be located at The Irish National War Memorial Gardens (INWMG) & lands to north of the River Liffey at the UCD Boat Club, Islandbridge, Dublin.

The INWMG, designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens, commemorates the estimated 49,400 Irish people who died during the First World war 1914-18.  Lutyens’ original concept design for the gardens included a three-arched bridge spanning the Liffey, linking the Gardens to Chaplelizod Road and further on to the Phoenix Park.

Although the INWMG were constructed during Lutyens lifetime, the powerful symbolism of the river, its crossing, and the connectivity with the Phoenix Park are yet to be realised. Lutyens clearly considered the continuous flow of the river as being the age-old metaphor for life, which he juxtaposed against the solemn static elements of the Gardens.

The current access point to the INWMG is confusing and ill defined. Many Dubliners have trouble locating the gardens. The Bridge and formal entrance to the gardens will facilitate a greater number of visitors to the Gardens by virtue of its prominence and increased significance.
The OPW now intend to complete this last remaining element of the INWMG with a ‘Commemorative Bridge’ linking the north and south banks of the River Liffey. The new bridge will be positioned at the location proposed by Lutyens which is aligned with the main axis of the Gardens.

The Bridge will become a key access point linking sections of Dublin’s walking, cycling and military trails, extending links from Kilmainham across the Liffey, on to the Phoenix Park and further afield.
The number of annual visitors to the Gardens is in the region of 450,000

Vision Statement
‘Enrich the Present, Honour the Past’

The design of the bridge should provide an appropriate contemporary response to the unique historic, cultural and landscape location and create a new landmark and public space for the city. A bridge at this location is essential for the promotion of the INWMG as an internationally significant site, and an essential element in connecting the Gardens to other significant nearby sites including the Phoenix Park and Kilmainham Gaol. We seek a bridge design and landscape setting that rises above the pure utility, beyond basic construction, to combine all that is practical and necessary, with a design proposal this is meaningful and memorable, that enriches the present, honours the past.

Further information is in the Competition Brief which is available once registration has been completed. Registration will open Wednesday 21 November 2018. Any queries please email competitions@riai.ie