South Quay Footbridge

London, UK

The competition brief for this 180m-long bridge, one of series of new pedestrian crossings commissioned for London’s Docklands, was unusual: it called for a bridge with temporary and permanent elements – and the ability to open for shipping. Our design achieved this through two identical spans, one fixed and the other openable, which in its original configuration created an S-shaped crossing between South Quay and Heron Quays.

As planned, the northern span has now been removed and the southern half swung into a new orientation spanning the partly infilled dock.

The simple elements of the bridge – the curved lines of the oak-clad deck, two raking masts and the shifting arrays of cable stays – create a visual dynamic, accentuating the kinetics of the design and contrasting sharply with the uniform urban grid beyond.