Rolling Bridge, Paddington Basin Project, Grand Union Canal Design
Rolling Bridge London : Paddington Basin Architecture
Paddington Basin Pedestrian Bridge – design by Heatherwick Studio
12 Aug 2009
Paddington Basin, west London
Design: Heatherwick Studio
Photographs: Steve Speller
The commission, part of the £500m development at Paddington Basin in Central London, called for an pedestrian bridge to sit across an inlet of the Grand Union Canal and provide an access route for workers and residents. Crucially, the bridge needed to open to allow the boat moored in the inlet to sail in and out.
Rather than design a single rigid element that fractures to allow river traffic through, the studio’s Rolling Bridge opens by slowly and smoothly curling until it transforms from a conventional pedestrian platform into a circular sculpture which sits on the bank of the canal.
The structure opens using a series of hydraulic rams set into the timber platform of the bridge. As it curls, each of its eight segments simultaneously lifts, causing it to roll until the two ends touch and form a circle. The bridge can be stopped at any point along its journey, whether at the very start, when it looks as though it is hovering or half way through its opening path.
The studio’s aim was to make the function and movement the extraordinary aspect of the bridge. With this in mind, the design aesthetics focused on simplicity, leaving its real identity hidden until it hydraulic movement begins.
Engineering firm, SKM Anthony Hunts collaborated with Heatherwick Studio on the project from its conception. The whole structure was constructed at Littlehampton Welding on the Sussex coast and then floated up the Grand Union Canal, before being lifted into position over the canal where it was attached to the mechanics which power its movement.
The Rolling Bridge opens and closes a number of times each week including every Friday at midday.
Rolling Bridge images / information from Heatherwick Studio
Rolling Bridge – Building Information
Project Name: Rolling Bridge
Location: Paddington Basin, west London, UK
Bridge Dimensions: L x 12 metres, W x 1.4 metres
Materials: Steel frame, and hard-wood timber deck
Weight: 4.5 tonnes
No. of Sections: 8
No. of Hydraulic Cylinders: 14 on bridge, 15 underground
Completion: Sep 2004
Client: Paddington Basin Developments Ltd
Client’s Representative: Chelsfield plc
Design: Heatherwick Studio
Structural Engineering: SKM Anthony Hunts
Concept Consultant: Ron Packman
Hydraulics: Solent Fluid Power ; Primary Fluid Power ; DJW Consulting
Construction: Littlehampton Welding
Project Manager: Mace
Quantity Surveyor:Gardiner & Theobald
Planning Supervisor: Mace
Planning Consultant: Montagu Evans
Rolling Bridge London information from Heatherwick Studio
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Architecture in London
London Architecture Designs – chronological list
Key London Building by Heatherwick Studio
photograph : Cristobal Palma
Paddington Basin Buildings
photos © Nick Weall
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Website: Visit London