Gateshead Millennium Bridge

Gateshead, UK

Winner of the 2002 RIBA Stirling Prize, this unique crossing for pedestrians and cyclists has become a new landmark for Gateshead and the Tyne, a river famous for its historic bridges. The bridge links Newcastle's thriving north bank with Gateshead Quays – the new arts and cultural quarter to the south. It is essentially two graceful curves, one forming the deck and the other supporting it, spanning between two new islands running parallel to the quaysides.

These pivot around their common springing points to allow shipping to pass beneath, using an innovative rotational movement similar to that of a slowly opening eyelid. The parabolic curves of the deck extend the 105m crossing distance to around 120m, giving enough extra length to provide the required clearance above the water. Visually elegant when static and in motion, the bridge offers a great spectacle during its opening operation –both during the day and by night.