One day, a project : St. Philips Footbridge by Knights Architects

St Philip's Bridge, Bristol 13
Photography by Lance McNulty

After a hot week, “one day a project” is back with a project between architecture, urbanism and engineering.
(Like what, the three are beautiful and well complementary despite what one would like us to think !).

So we’re off to the other side of the Channel (it’s very FR3 reportage to write that), to Bristol in the United Kingdom. The agency Knights Architects delivers here a pedestrian bridge to cross the Avon River.

Here I see you coming: “Why choose to write about a bridge when there are so many beautiful buildings to be ravished by ? ». To which I would answer: “Well, why not ? “It’s true, a bridge seems simple, not necessarily extravagant, but it is nevertheless an extremely powerful urban and social tool. It allows us to cross natural obstacles like here, but also artificial ones (ring roads, railways, etc.) or cultural ones (reconnecting neighbourhoods). The image of the bridge is vivid in my mind. Going from the simple wooden work do-it-yourself in a hurry (meaning a wooden log wedged between two rocks) to the megastructure suspended several meters high, the bridge can be found in different shapes and scales.

This one proves to be efficient in what it proposes and economical in gesture. Equipped with two paths, one gently sloping for bicycles and PRMs, the other with stairs for pedestrians, it anchors discreetly on both banks, complementing the road bridge a few metres away. The lines reflect a pure geometry, of white concrete and grey steel, which enhance the brick wall on one side; and the banks left wild on the other.

The railings take up the rhythm set by the shape of the bridge, without embellishments, like a pristine fold that one would have come to lay over the river.

Sometimes, it is useless to imagine 36,000 uses for a project: a few lines are enough to meet the need, the rest would be superfluous smearing !

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