Skip to main content

New River Douro Bridge International Competition

Porto, Portugal

New River Douro Bridge International Competition

Porto, Portugal


Metro do Porto



Design Team

Knight Architects, OODA, Armando Rito Engenharia, Egis, P4 – Artes e Técnicas da Paisagem

Thinking on more than one level

The estuary of the River Douro between Porto and Vila Nova de Gaia is a sensitive urban environment, with exceptional cultural and historic values (UNESCO World Heritage Site). In 2021, a competition was launched to provide a direct high level link for metro, pedestrians and cyclists, upstream of the iconic Arrábida Bridge.Knight Architects' proposal included a walkable arch allowing pedestrians to cross the river at high level, from one bank to the other. Addressing the historic lack connectivity at low level between the banks, the design also made provision for a direct link, suspended beneath the superstructure of the arch.

The 701m crossing comprised a concrete deck arch bridge without support in the riverbed, with a main span of 406m. The deck was supported by the arch through spandrel columns that followed the same module as the approach piers. The arch, made of two independent closed sections separated by a variable-width void, tapered in plan, being wider at its centre and narrower at its ends. The central widening became a vantage point, a space for users to admire the landscape.

The design would have harmoniously co-existed with Porto's family of bridges and the natural and built landscape. As a high-quality piece of contemporary infrastructure design, it went beyond the functional criteria, adding social value for the wider community, contributing to the identity and placemaking qualities of the River Douro and providing an exceptional user experience.