Arup Associates and Arup engineers blend architecture, lighting and structure in new Queen Elizabeth Quay Bridge, Perth, Australia
Arup Associates, working in collaboration with Arup engineers in Australia, are celebrating the completion of an elegant pedestrian and cycling bridge that spans the inlet of the Swan River in central Perth. The bridge is effectively a gateway to the central business district, its curvaceous form visually linking the river with the city,
The bridge was officially unveiled to the public in late January with a breath-taking outdoor light and water display showcasing the precinct inlet as the heart of the development. A striking architectural feature, the 22m high cable-stayed bridge offers impressive 360 degree views across the Swan River and the Perth CBD.
The bridge is central to the bold plan by the West Australian Government to revitalise central Perth, Elizabeth Quay features a stunning 2.7ha inlet and 1.5ha promenade, surrounded by a vibrant mix of offices, apartments, hotels, shops, bars and restaurants. The project returns the city’s focus to the Swan River and provides a world-class waterfront destination for Perth.
The 110m long pedestrian and cyclists’ bridge allows for continuous movement around the Quay. It connects The Island with the western promenade and Williams Landing, and also links The Island onto the popular ‘bridges’ recreational circuit around the Swan River. Visitors to the precinct can now run, cycle or even ride a Segway across the bridge as they wander around the promenades and explore the many attractions on offer.
Commenting on the project Alistair Avern-Taplin, Perth Office Leader, Arup said:
“It’s very rewarding to see our design come to life. We are incredibly proud to have been involved in delivering the bridge and being a part of the transformation of Perth’s Swan River waterfront. It is an iconic project that will forever change the way people enjoy one of the country’s most vibrant and diverse cities.”
Arup was engaged by managing contractor Leighton Broad to design the project, and worked closely with the Metropolitan Redevelopment Authority to provide multi-disciplinary services from detailed design through to construction completion.
Given the bridge’s unique but constrained location, and the considerable level change required for clearance height for vessels, Arup’s team of architects and engineers knew that the bridge’s design needed to be longer and more complex than a simple ‘straight line bridge’. In response the architects, using parametric design tools, started to play with complex curves, therefore lengthening the path, while the engineers developed a structural diagram to mirror this proposal. This resulted in the beginnings of a design that echoed what the bridge needed to provide functionality-wise, while incorporating aesthetically appealing design curves, an easily-accessible pathway and a sound structure.
The concept design was driven by a desire to have a simple but iconic form that respected the Quay’s existing masterplan, while ensuring that the structure took full advantage of its spectacularly unique location.
Alistair Avern-Taplin, Perth Office Leader, Arup went on to say: “The architect’s unique sculptured form for the cable-stayed bridge presented an interesting design challenge which Arup’s engineers enjoyed creating design solutions for.”
The architects and engineers worked closely together from the outset of the design using analysis software to create efficiencies in the arches geometry relative to the bridge deck geometry. This ensured that the arches dramatic leans were optimised in their cross-sectional form with the critical structural support they provide.
Nick Birmingham, Project Architect, Arup Associates, London, said: “The local and luxurious Jarrah timber decking, resonates strongly with the West Australian maritime context. In contrast, the complex parametric steel forms, refined stainless steel details and dynamic lighting solutions propel the project into the contemporary context.”