Rolling Bridge in London

Rolling Bridge
London England
 

Rather than design a single rigid element that fractures to allow river traffic through, Heatherwick 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.

This bridge was part of a huge development at Paddington Basin in Central London. The goal was to create a 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.pivot bridge

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.

The engineering firm, SKM collaborated with Heatherwick Studio on the project from its conception and a team of hydraulic specialists.

The Rolling Bridge opens and closes a number of times each week including every Friday at midday.

LINK TO MORE ABOUT THE BRIDGE…