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Christchurch Bridge, Reading

Completed in August 2015, Christchurch Bridge was built at a cost of £5.9m and provides an important new link for pedestrians and cyclists between Reading Town Centre, the upgraded rail station and Caversham’s riverside areas. The bridge has proved to be a welcome addition to the landscape and was recently recognised with a WAN Award nomination in the ‘Best Bridge’ category.

The bridge was created by Design Engine Architects who worked in collaboration with engineers Peter Brett Associates to produce a unique design solution tailored to the confined site, with built-in adaptability for potential future extensions.

A single masted cable stayed structure was developed for the principal river span due to its lightness of appearance, value for money, deliverability (including ease of construction), and clear navigation width. The structure creates a river span of 68m and a land span of 54m supported by a mast of 39m high located above the north bank of the River Thames.

The single slender mast was positioned on the north bank with the land span continuing straight on into Christchurch Meadows to balance the river span visually and structurally. On the south side of the river, a restricted access resulted in the creation of a staircase and ramp at 90 degrees to the bridge direction.

The bridge deck gently tapers from its widest point around the mast towards either end. A timber-clad bench folds out of the mast, offering panoramic views of the river and meadows beyond. A continuous handrail provides the lighting for the bridge, as well as creating another spot to soak in the views. Conical cable shrouds fabricated in perforated stainless steel wrap around each of the cables as they connect to the bridge deck. An LED lighting scheme creates an addition to the night-time landscape that is both practical and eye-catching.

The new bridge formed an integral part of Reading Borough Council’s scheme which aims to create an additional 7,200 daily bus trips, 12,050 daily walking trips and 2,300 daily cycle trips across the town, whilst cutting congestion by up to 10%.

Richard Jobson, Founding Director, Design Engine Architects, said:

“The project was extremely important to us: a high-profile demonstration of effective collaboration with engineers Peter Brett Associates in order to deliver much-needed new public infrastructure. We are delighted that Christchurch Bridge has been shortlisted alongside 5 other impressive bridges from around the world; we are in great company.”

To view more projects from Design Engine Architects, please visit designengine.co.uk.

Christchurch Bridge

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