Network Rail Footbridge

Location: UK
Year completed: (unbuilt)
Client: Network Rail
Architect: Liam Ashmore
Wider team: n/a

Network Rail’s open call for proposals for a new pedestrian bridge typology for the UK challenged teams to present an adaptable scheme which would fit in with many UK landscapes, as well as the existing historic rail infrastructure.

The proposal was no more of a bridge than it was a settlement, inspired by the signal box as a house above the tracks. The idea of the crossing as a place to be; a place to view. The footbridge is both container and content. This could be a simple covered walkway and it could also be imagined as a gallery for countryside ramblers, a waiting room at a hectic station or a food market at a city centre crossing.

The bridge appears as an accumulated set of historical forms and constructions. Masonry-clad piers complete with arch, support deep engineered timber trusses, stairs and lift. The proposition of a timber through-truss for the primary bridge-span is born from the rich traditions that started in Europe in the 18th Century and flourished across North America in the 19th.

Engineered timber bridge construction is a contemporary solution and well-tailored to managing the constraints of railway construction today. We explored the use of large prefabricated timber sections, which can be transported from workshop to site and lifted into place with readily-available commercial vehicles and plant.

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