15 October 2008

Bridge competition debris part 3: Sheffield Parkway

This is the third in a series of round-ups of RIBA bridge competition entries, following on from ones for New Islington and Pennington Road.

The Sheffield Parkway footbridge competition attracted 109 entries, but nonetheless I found it very difficult to find many of them online.

This scheme offered a fairly open brief with a relatively flat and unrestricted landscape, with the footway carried over a dual carriageway. Judging from the images below, that's again a license for every furniture designer or frustrated sculpture to try their hand at bridge-as-blob. I know that sculptor Richard Serra was a big admirer of bridge designer Robert Maillart, but here we're seeing bridge designers taking their inspiration from the likes of Serra.

As ever, click the image for a larger version, and the name of the designer for a link to any relevant details on their website.

Ramboll Whitbybird + Norlund Architects

Also shortlisted
Satellite Architects + Elliott Wood Partnership

URB Architecture + Ove Arup & Partners

Arup Associates

DLG Architects

Not shortlisted
Edgley Design

Leit-werk [PDF]

Juhana Marttinen + Markus Wikar

David Narro Associates + A+J Burridge


Anonymous said...

I think 'debris' is an appropriate term by the looks of some of these.

The Happy Pontist said...

I didn't intend it to be a derogatory term, but looking over all the various competitions, there are certainly some designs which are pretty horrible, and others it's very hard to imagine a jury panel looking favourably on (e.g. for technical reasons).

I understand from people who have acted as judges in these open competitions that a significant proportion of the entries are, in their view, very poor. That begs the question of whether the open competition format is a good use of everyone involved's time.

Equally, however, it's clear that these contests trigger a quite amazing explosion of creativity and ambition. The invited competition format (where often just the "usual suspects" are asked to provide entries) makes it much more difficult for new designers with unusual ideas to get anywhere.

Quite what the best balance is, I don't know.