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Pedestrian Bridge, Royal Ballet School

Pedestrian Bridge, Royal Ballet School

Special Award: Innovation Award Highly Commended 2003

Location: London
Architect: Wilkinson Eyre
Wood Species: Oak

While this project was not strictly innovative in the use of timber, the overall skill of architect Wilkinson Eyre in executing this complex design problem has to be applauded.

The bridge, at high level between the Royal Ballet School and Royal Opera House in Covent Garden, consists of a single load bearing beam below a walkway that supports a series of hollow l-section rectangular aluminium frames. These are spaced at 300mm centres and successively rotated at approximately 30 until they have turned through 90.

Oak slats or glazing beads provide a trapezoidal infill to the web of the aluminium frames and give a warm contrast to the cold aluminium. Curved handrails and a wooden floor add to the warmth of the scene and, as one judge remarked, ‘make a great advertisement for the use of wood’.

The judges also praised the project for its drama and inspired use of materials, while likening its flowing, curved aesthetics to multiple exposure photography of ballet movement.