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Sheffield Parkway Footbridge
Competition entry

The aim of our proposal is to create a unique & humane alternative to the familiar structural showmanship of bridge design. Rather than making a gesture to the non-car user it prioritizes their experience and aims to avoid creating an undesirable and unsustainable white elephant whilst still providing a distinctive landmark and iconic gateway.

Our intention was to create both a pleasurable route for the pedestrian & other recreational users and a larger landscape sculpture. It is therefore a beautiful and intriguing place and an experience that reveals itself through repetition, nurturing the route and encouraging walking and other recreational activities.

For the car user our proposal is to soften the existing harsh motorway context and provide a link with the surrounding woodland landscape. By doing this we endeavour to establish a place with a distinctive identity, a focal point connecting vehicles, pedestrians, the bridge and the countryside.

The design is composed of 2 elements – steel ‘trees’ and a timber ribbon walkway that glides through the landscape and is lifted through the canopy of the existing wood. It is a simple, low tech, sustainable bridge that has a minimum impact on the forest. Flat top timber trusses form the bridge sides where the walkway spans across the road. Clad in timber boarding it is decorated with a leaf motif cut out which sparkles when lit at night. The steel trees are introduced to lift the walkway through the forest and across the road. When lit at night they provide a reference to Sheffield and Rotherham’s heavy industrial heritage.
The resultant design creates an exceptional and delightful space, a safe crossing, a landmark and gateway to the city and region and a beacon for future regeneration. From industrial roots grows the sustainable future. A forest of steel, with the nostalgic red glow of the foundries, defines the crossing of the two routes and marks the new gateway.

Sculptor: Michael Visocchi
Structural Engineer: David Narro Associates
Cost Consultant: Davis Langdon LLP
Sheffield Parkway Footbridge partners: Rotherham Borough Council and Yorkshire Forward
Computer Renderings: Tom Kaneko

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