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Gottlieb Paludan Architects wins UK bridge design competition


Gottlieb Paludan Architects has been selected as the winner in an open competition to design Network Rail’s new pedestrian footbridges. The design is entitled ‘The Framing Bridge’ and it was selected among 120 entrants from nineteen countries. Network Rail owns and operates 32,000 km of the railway network in England, Wales and Scotland. 

Network Rail’s brief asked for a design that would optimize the accessibility of the pedestrian footbridge, as it is to be used on the entire British railway network to improve access for train passengers and other pedestrians. In addition, the new pedestrian footbridge is to contribute to solving the challenges of electrifying the railway where OCS masts and overhead lines will require extra clearance above the rail network. For this reason, Network Rail’s brief specified a flexible footbridge design that may be adapted to many different localities.

The key words characterizing Gottlieb Paludan Architects’ design are adaptation, integration and identity.

“The simple frame and construction of the footbridge creates an open space where it is possible to add local features or artistic elements. Furthermore, we wanted to create a design that was flexible, adaptable and not least modular. ‘The Framing Bridge’ may be prefabricated and built on site with minimal effect on railway operations,” explains Thomas Bonde-Hansen, Head of Design at Gottlieb Paludan Architects.

Network Rail owns just short of 2400 footbridges across the UK and only around 200 of these meet the future requirements. Thus, there is a huge project ahead for Network Rail, replacing footbridges as the electrification of the British railway network is being rolled out. Gottlieb Paludan Architects’ winning proposal is to be developed further and included in Network Rail’s future development plans.

Gottlieb Paludan Architects has extensive expertise and experience with bridge design and railway architecture, designing, for example, Byens Bro in Odense and Nørreport Station and the company recently won the project to design two metro stations on Oslo’s new Fornebu Line.