Two cantilevers that don't quite meet in the middle
RIBA National Award winner 2021
RIBA South West & Wessex Award winner 2021
Ney & Partners and William Matthews Associates for English Heritage
Contract value: £3.5m
Cost per m2: £20,000
This is much more than a bridge. It is a connector, an enabler, an interpreter and a spectacle all within its own right.
Located on a north Cornwall cliff top on a site that’s the legendary base of King Arthur, this new bridge is beautifully executed at all scales, from the way it respects the silhouette of the landforms it abuts, down to the tactile detail of its path, made from slate laid on edge.
Retracing the approximate width and length of the natural land-bridge and castle structures that have long since fallen into the water, the bridge notionally links past with present and physically connects two stranded sections of the castle precinct, which dates from the 13th century. With its highly ceremonial presence, articulated in every piece of finely crafted stainless steel, it also allows contemporary visitors to retrace the steps of predecessors who would have passed through this section of the castle to gain entry to the grand hall on the island side.
The structure is formed from two 30m cantilevered bridges separated by a 40mm gap, intended as a symbolic and playful threshold from mainland to island, and from present to past
Technical achievement and degree of difficulty metrics are high in this project, where construction logistics and material specification have all been expertly handled. It also sets the bar very high above the potentially choppy waters of the competitions and commissioning process, standing out as an exemplar of how projects should be run, having been taken from concept to delivery without dither or delay.
See the rest of the South West winners here
And all the RIBA Regional Awards here
See other RIBA National Awards 2021 winners, Culture, here