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Competitions Archive

Architectural Design Competition for a Commemorative Bridge at Irish National War Memorial Garden


The RIAI and the Office of Public Works (OPW) announced on 14 May 2019 the winning architect of the competition to design a new commemorative bridge at the Irish National War Memorial Gardens, at Islandbridge, Dublin.

The winning design is by Ian Ritchie Architects. Based in London, this is Ian Ritchie’s second major competition win in Ireland, having previously designed the Spire of Dublin to mark the Millennium. The winning bridge design was described by the judges as “a simple and elegant way of stepping from one side of the Liffey to the other. A slender blade of stainless steel leaps from the reeds and rushes to cross over the river”. Ian Ritchie Architects will receive a prize of €15,000 for the winning entry.


Second Place
A prize of €7,500 goes to Weston Williamson + Partners (UK)
Citation: The judges admired this clever three girder cantilever design…giving a view through the bridge structure to the river below while also providing a place for pause and reflection before entering the Memorial garden.

Third Place
A prize of € 5,000 goes to entry Niall Montgomery + Partners Architects (IRL)
Citation: An elegant steel girder structure connects to a steel plate base with a granite tile surface finish.  The granite finish links into the stepped abutments which reach out into the landscape creating grass terraces to the river’s edges.  This is a bridge that has empathy with its environment.


The scheme by Seán Harrington Architects (IRL) gave due consideration to the whole sequence of arrival, bridge crossing, and interface with the Memorial garden. The tapered concrete bridge thoughtfully combines a compression arch with a tensioned ribbon deck to evoke the spirit of Lutyen’s concept bridge sketch, yet is of its own time and place.


The scheme by Bystrup Arkitekter & Designere ApS (DK) proposed a bridge that tapers in plan as it moves from site entrance to the Memorial garden, thereby accentuating the sense of perspective for the visitor. The Corten steel structure vaults the river, lightly touching the landscape.  It is an essay in the clear execution of a strong singular idea.


About the Competition
Opened in 1940, the Irish National War Memorial Gardens, situated at Islandbridge, Dublin, were designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens dedicated to the memory of the 49,400 Irish soldiers who gave their lives in the Great War.  Lutyens original design concept included a three-arched bridge over the River Liffey, to link the gardens to the Chapelizod Road and the Phoenix Park. However, the bridge was not constructed during his lifetime.

This commemorative bridge competition is the first step in realising an important new crossing point, linking sections of Dublin’s walking, cycling and military trails across the river Liffey and extending links from Kilmainham, to the Phoenix Park and further afield. The new bridge will link the north and south banks of the river at the location first proposed by Sir Edwin Lutyens, which is aligned with the main axis of the gardens.

Fittingly, the competition jury made its final deliberations on 29 March, 150 years to the day of Edwin Lutyens’ birth to an Irish mother and English father. Lutyens became an architect of international renown for both building and landscape design. He is also associated with most iconic First World War cemeteries, memorials and monuments on the Western Front including Thiepval, and for the Cenotaph in Whitehall, London.

The competition jury were: Ciaran O’Connor (Chair), FRIAI, State Architect OPW; John McMahon, Commissioner, OPW; Architects Angela Brady, FRIAI, Brady Mallalieu Architects; and Ruth O’Herlihy, MRIAI, McCullough Mulvin Architects; and Engineer Pearse Sutton, CS Consulting Group (Cronin & Sutton). All entries were judged anonymously by the jury.