Bridge aesthetics

Most of the respondents to the initial consultation said they would like the bridge to be elegant, unobtrusive, and contemporary, with a neutral finish. Some feedback suggested the new bridge should reflect the industrial heritage of the area.

The bridge has been designed to respond to this feedback. The design was produced to meet the following objectives:

  • To improve inclusive transport to support sustainable growth on the Isle of Dogs.
  • To provide clear routes and an attractive crossing experience for users. The emergency staircase on the north quay shall not only not restrict functionality but become an opportunity to make the design unique and distinctive.
  • To contribute to place-making and to provide an attractive landmark in the area.
  • To enhance the local identity of the area responding to both its present and past.
  • To be elegant when closed, visually unobtrusive when seen from a distance, but beautifully sculpted and detailed when seen close up.
  • To be striking and elegant when opened.
  • Not to completely block, open or closed, the valuable north-south views along the bridge.
  • To make subtle references to the industrial/commercial past of the area when closed.
  • To suggest, when closed, what will happen when the bridge opens.
  • For the moving span to have an aesthetically pleasant underside (very visible when the bridge opens).
  • To minimise the number of supports in the water and to provide a light design.
  • To have materials that are appropriate given the architectural value of the site.
  • To provide spaces for pedestrians to wait on the bridge when the north span opens, rather than having to wait on the dockside.

The latest design meets all these aspirations. It is slender and unobtrusive, with a sculptural unique geometry. The void created on the deck of the main span not only guides users away from the emergency staircase on the north quay but makes the structure lighter and more transparent, distinctive and memorable when the bridge is open, allowing views through the deck.

The steel structure of the bridge has been elegantly and subtly shaped to create light and shadow contrasts on its surfaces. This not only adds interest to the bridge form and makes it look lighter, but also helps to pay tribute to the area's heritage. The bridge resembles the soft curvy shapes of the base of the historic cranes that were once along the quays, or the hooks workers used to handle goods when the site was a commercial port.

Engravings on the steelwork at the north ends of the structure suggest how the bridge will open and are also a nod to the history of the site. Colours are neutral as per the feedback from the initial consultation, having used an elegant and complementary range of greys that makes the object blend with its surroundings.

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This consultation has now closed.

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