Bridge specialist Knight Architects has announced that its novel design for a footbridge in Paddington, London is to go ahead. The hydraulic Merchant Square Bridge will raise and lower like a traditional folding Japanese fan.

A footbridge of this size would usually be unremarkable. The 3-meter (9.9-ft) wide bridge crosses London's Grand Union Canal with a span of 20 meters (66 ft). But it's the unusual raising mechanism, which Knight Architects describes as a "kinetic sculpture," that lends the design interest.

The deck of the bridge is comprised of five separate steel beams. When the bridge needs to be raised, these are lifted one at a time, each to a lesser height than the one before it, creating an instantly familiar fanned effect. Though the first beam raises to an angle of 80 degrees, the last only needs to clear a height of 5.5 meters (18 feet) over the middle of the canal. The lifting mechanism is powered by hydraulics, with the assistance of counterweights which reduce the energy required.

At night the deck of the bridge will be illuminated by LEDs embedded into the handrail.

See the video below for a better idea of how it'll look upon completion.

Source: Knight Architects