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Conceptual footbridge puts the O into iconic


October 18, 2013

The O bridge concept

The O bridge concept

Image Gallery (13 images)

Three guess how this novel design for a footbridge to be built in Salford, UK got its name: the O. Its distinctive ring provides support for the walkway it surrounds. In a sense this is two bridges in one. Two thirds of the bridge is suspended in order to span the entire width of the River Irwell, while the final third is supported by columns.

It sounds great in theory, but will it work? "We were working closely together with engineers and structural experts up to a point where the structural principle and the dimensions were correct," Chris Precht of penda tells Gizmag. He designed the bridge alongside Alex Daxböck. "For this phase you just can go to a certain point of detailing all the details out. It certainly still needs a lot of work hours, workforce and a great client to do so, but the structural principle, knowhow, technical consultants and a lots of passion to make it happen, we certainly have."

That said, the ring is mainly decorative. "To be frank, a pedestrian bridge with this span doesn't necessarily need to be suspended from a pylon," Precht tells us. "But this is where the idea of creating a landmark with its structure comes into play."

The intent, then, is to create an iconic design to put the locality, Salford Meadows, on the proverbial map. It might sound redundant to say that this bridge looks fundamentally different depending on your perspective (that's true of all bridges after all), but there's more to it than that. The designers point out that viewed side on from the east or west, the bridge looks like any old cable-stayed footbridge, the ring appearing almost as a lone pylon. From the north or south, though, the true form of the bridge is revealed.

The design is one entry in a RIBA-sponsored competition for the design of a Salford Meadows footbridge, the results of which will be announced towards the end of November. Precht is optimistic. "Hopefully one day the O will find its way from paper to reality."

Source: penda via Bustler

About the Author
James Holloway James lives in East London where he punctuates endless tea drinking with freelance writing and meteorological angst. Unlocking Every Extend Extra Extreme’s “Master of Extreme” achievement was the fourth proudest moment of his life. All articles by James Holloway

Wonderful, beautiful, and quirky. I love the way the bridge echoes the way that the trees behind project over the water on the one side, and I'm sure if you approached this bridge from the sides, the perspective would alter as you the angle of your approach would make the 'hoop' appear to balloon outwards.

It is great to see that even in these economically challenged times, there is still a place for more artful architecture- Britain has far too many examples of purely functional brutalist structures that blight their surroundings, and usually age badly. I just hope this design gets given the nod.


Very clever! A stunning view!

Amaury Veiga

I absolutely love it. What a beautiful design!

Doug Maidens

It is quite striking. It could also have been an oval or any manner of polygon because the ring is just decoration.

Bruce H. Anderson
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