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Temple Quay Bridge, Bristol, UK

Issue 54 Apr/May 2010 : Architectural : Bridge


Temple Quay is a pedestrian and cycle bridge located in the centre of Bristol. The bridge consists of an organic steel form where the cladding performs structurally and is perforated where less material is required for strength.

The concept was to express the perforated patterning across the walls of the bridge at night to reveal the structural integrity of the bridge. The design team from Niall McLaughlin Architects wanted to change the appearance of the bridge from day to night. The bridge appears as a reflective blade across the river during the day and a glowing entity at night reflected in the water below. The lighting designers from Happold Lighting encouraged the team (which also consisted of Martin Richman for his artistic input) to work with a fully integrated scheme by providing all illumination from within the bridge so as not to interrupt the lines of the bridge. This was very challenging and a lot of work was done on the perforations required to let enough light out to meet the levels required for safety. The bridge perforations were designed so the inside panels had larger apertures to let light out while the outside were smaller to provide more surface to reflect the light back onto the walkways. Norka Zurich battens are located within the deck and walls of the bridge in key positions so as no equipment is visible when crossing the bridge (LEDs were not used due to the cost).

T8 lamps are used under the walkway and cold temperature 55W PL’s within the walls - fluorescent lamps are needed to achieve the required light level for cyclists and pedestrians crossing. The setting out was very complicated due to the precise positions the lamps needed to sit to be hidden from view. A full size card mock-up was produced to check light levels and to ensure the lamps could be maintained through the deck from this location.

The design looks simple and continuous but was very difficult to achieve due to the internal steel frame a larger number of small units were required as the structural fins run the length of the bridge.  Hand calculations, lighting software and a mock-up was required to make sure the light levels would meet the clients’ requirements.


Pic: courtesy of Niall Mclaughlin Architects

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