Poole Harbour Second Crossing

RIBA Regional Awards 2014: South West / Wessex

Poole Harbour Second Crossing
Poole Harbour Second Crossing · Credit: Dave Morris

Poole Harbour Second Crossing
Wilkinson Eyre Architects for Poole Borough Council
Contract £11.9m. GIA 2,825m2

Wilkinson Eyre, with its acknowledged expertise in this typology, was asked to create something of elegance and grace that also solved the problems of a town brought to a standstill every time its sole lifting bridge opened to let maritime traffic pass through. Within sight of each other, the two bridges now operate in sequence, so one is always open to serve the town.

The judges called the Twin Sails Bridge ‘a triumph’. While its lifting methodology is tried and tested, the architect’s decision to split the road diagonally is a tour-de-force. When open on its hydraulic rams, the bridge presents itself as two triangles to the sky, ‘looking like two passing super yachts’. These are monocoque structures in Corten steel so the inner voids never need maintenance. Walkways at the outer sides are cantilevered off the heavier traffic-bearing central portion to provide elegantly thin leading edges.