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Sumit Singhal
Sumit Singhal
Sumit Singhal loves modern architecture. He comes from a family of builders who have built more than 20 projects in the last ten years near Delhi in India. He has recently started writing about the architectural projects that catch his imagination.

River Hull Footbridge by McDowell+Benedett

 
September 1st, 2013 by Sumit Singhal

Article source: McDowell+Benedett

Structure
The structure consists of a steel spine cantilevering around from a 3-dimensional braced ring structure approximately 16m in diameter. The spine is a hybrid structure with the ‘root’ section conceived as a diagrid/shell structure and the tip as a shell structure. Steel plates clad the surface of the walkways whilst horizontal bracing provides additional longitudinal stiffness.

Image Courtesy © Timothy Soar

  • Architects: McDowell+Benedett
  • Project: River Hull Footbridge
  • Photography: Timothy Soar
  • Main Contractor: Qualter Hall
  • Structural Consultants: Alan Baxter Associates
  • M&E Engineer: Qualter Hall
  • Lighting Consultant: Sutton Vane Associates
  • Landscape Architect: Grontmij
  • Public Art/Sound: Nayan Kulkarni, NK Projects (UK) Ltd
  • Civil Design: HBPW LLP
  • Civils – Bridge: A Torn Construction
  • Civils – Landscaping: Jackson Civil Engineering

Image Courtesy © Timothy Soar

The ring/drum/hub structure consists of columns connected to horizontal steel “wheel” structures forming both levels of the 3D ring. The circular hub section acts as a counterbalance to the cantilever section, with heavy RC slabs at both levels of the 3D ring structure. Braced frames provide stability of the ring structure. The hub is supported vertically on a central pintle and six single / four double wheel assemblies running on a 16m diameter flat circular track, secured to a concrete drum supported on ten 1.6m dia. piles over 30m long.

Image Courtesy © Timothy Soar

Mechanical operation
The bridge is supported on a series of wheels running on a circular 16m diameter track below the hub, like a railway turntable. Three electric bevel gear units drive the bridge which pivots around a central slew bearing. The bridge is operated from a radio pendant. The whole sequence takes around 2 minutes. The bridge operator closes a gate at the East bank triggering the opening of the bridge. There are no barriers at the west bank so people can freely walk on and off while it is in motion. The speed of rotation at that edge is slow – less than 0.15m/sec, (less than half the speed of the London Eye) so can be stepped across safely.

Image Courtesy © Timothy Soar

Lighting
Sutton Vane Associates were commissioned to design the lighting for the bridge and the landscaping at both ends. The lighting provides functional and energy efficient illumination of the deck of the bridge by specially designed small fittings that are integrated within the balustrade. These fittings were designed to deliberately allow a little light out over the water so at night the shape of the bridge is defined by the points of light from the line of fittings. On the fin of the bridge Sutton Vane Associates designed tiny points of light that emphasise the shape and which come on when the bridge moves. Around the joint between the bank and the bridge is a row of recessed lights which also spring into life when the bridge moves. The lighting adds to the drama when this extraordinary structure moves.

Image Courtesy © Timothy Soar

Landscaping
The west bank of the bridge, which leads to the Old Town and is part of the Old Town Conservation Area, has been re-landscaped by Grontmij. A car park along Scale Lane Staith has been replaced with a series of informal ‘garden rooms’ stepping up to the river side.(with its increased flood defence level) and leading to a new paved square which will eventually provide space for al fresco seating for the restaurant.

Image Courtesy © Timothy Soar

The original cobbles of the original staith have been retained and re-laid. A green wall of planting will provides a cohesive edge and screen the adjacent building once it matures. On the east bank, pending future redevelopment of the riverside site, a temporary ramped path has been laid which orientates pedestrians to Hull’s main visitor attraction The Deep.

Image Courtesy © Timothy Soar

Public Art: ‘From Mizzenmast to Sandstroke’
In July 2008 Nayan Kulkarni won the commission to create an integrated public art work on the site of the bridge. ‘From Mizzenmast to Sandstroke’ is a light and sound installation developed by Kulkarni in collaboration with Shauna McMullen. Bronze strips measure out the space and incorporate the sparkle of back-lit text naming the parts of an historical merchant ship.

Speakers concealed in the bridge seating and throughout the west bank play a range of sounds including birdsong, creating a gentle and varying spatial soundscape.

Image Courtesy © Timothy Soar

When the bridge is due to open the light and sound installation switches to an opening sequence to signal the rotation. Rhythmic bells and a pulsing light, designed by Sutton Vane Associates, emanating from the roof light fin and LED lights embedded in the bridge path serve to alert pedestrians to the imminent opening without recourse to a conventional ‘keep off’ hazard light and sound warning system. The activity climaxes at the moment the movement begins, continues during the movement cycle and subsides as it comes to a stop.

Image Courtesy © Timothy Soar

Image Courtesy © Timothy Soar

Image Courtesy © Timothy Soar

Image Courtesy © Timothy Soar

Image Courtesy © Timothy Soar

Image Courtesy © McDowell+Benedetti

Image Courtesy © McDowell+Benedetti

Image Courtesy © McDowell+Benedetti

Image Courtesy © McDowell+Benedetti

Image Courtesy © McDowell+Benedetti

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Categories: Bridge, Footbridge

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