Heatherwick Studio is probably best known, recently that is, for their spectacular Shanghai Expo UK Pavilion which, quite deservedly, received a lot of attention. We are also familiar with their impressive staircase at the Longchamps store in Soho, NY but, all their projects are worth checking out. The Rolling Bridge at the Paddington Basin in London is no exception.
Completed in 2004, Heatherwick’s challenge was to design a pedestrian bridge to span an inlet providing an access route for pedestrians while at the same time lifting to allow access for the boats in the inlet.
From the Heatherwick website:
The aim was to make the movement the extraordinary aspect of the bridge. A common approach to designing opening bridges is to have a single rigid element that fractures and lifts out of the way. Rolling Bridge opens by slowly and smoothly curling until it transforms from a conventional, straight bridge, into a circular sculpture which sits on the bank of the canal.
The structure opens using a series of hydraulic rams integrated into the balustrade. 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.
You can watch a video of the bridge in action here. To see it open live, you need to be there any Friday at midday.
via our buddy Nils!