04 October 2008

Bridge competition debris part 1: New Islington

I have an ongoing interest in RIBA bridge design competitions, as may be obvious. To round off previous posts, I'm going to offer a series of posts bringing together in one place lots of the competition entries; both the winners and the losers. Noting that there have been several unsuccessful outcomes with the RIBA competition winners (e.g. Stratford and River Wear), I think it's interesting to consider whether the available pool of entries might have led to a different outcome.

Looking through both the successful and the unsuccessful designs for the New Islington footbridge competition, three immediate thoughts come to mind.

One is that despite the competition brief very clearly calling for a "sketch" design, many of the submissions were complex computer visualisations, no doubt with the aim to catch a judge's eye, but representing a level of effort entirely disproportionate to the odds of getting shortlisted.

The second is that the geometrical problem (to link five paths at different levels and in different directions) led to many variations on a small number of basic ideas: the ring and the starfish being the most popular. So: does the client really benefit from so many entries (87)?

The third is the distinct impression that many of the entrants would be better off with a career in furniture design than bridge design; they seem to think (and the judges seem to share this view) that the same principles can apply to both. Most of the entries shown below offer little or no evidence that basic structural concerns have been given even a passing thought. Which, for a bridge, is odd.

I intend to offer the entries without further comment. I'm limited to what I can find online, so I don't know how representative a cross-section of the entries these are. In general, clicking on the image should take you to a higher resolution version; clicking on the entrant's name should take you to any further information on the design available at their website.

Michael Hadi Associates & Gollifer Langston

Also shortlisted
Gunning Groothuizen Architects

McChesney Architects & Atelier One

Techniker + Glowacka Rennie

Not shortlisted

David Narro Associates + A+J Burridge

Arup + David Miller Architects

Buro Happold + FoRM Associates

Flower Architects

Hot Architecture

ROEWU Architecture


The Space Studio

Urban Future Organisation

West Architecture

Working Architecture Group

Added 5 May 2009:
Guy Nordenson Associates

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