Bridging the gap

19 Oct 2011

Psychedelic Heneghan Peng Architects' bridge at Olympic Site now in place

A splash of colour and a striking new piece of architecture for the Olympic Park was unveiled today as the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) announced the completion of a key footbridge that features a design inspired by the London 2012 brand colours.

The central park footbridge spans over the River Lea at a focal point between the Olympic Stadium and Aquatics Centre, and features both permanent and temporary elements to integrate Games and legacy use. A design competition was held in 2007 to select an emerging architectural and engineering practice to create a key piece of architecture in the centre of the Park. Dublin-based Heneghan Peng Architects, with Adams Kara Taylor Engineers, were selected as the winning team and the construction of their winning bridge design has now been completed.

The bridge features two permanent footbridges linked by a central blade-like walkway, creating a ‘Z’ shape clad in mirror-finish stainless steel that spans the River Lea. For Games-time, a multi-coloured temporary deck has been placed between the permanent spans of the bridge to increase the width, allowing it to carry increased spectator numbers. The temporary Games-time bridge deck has been covered with a multi-coloured rubber surface inspired by the London 2012 brand colours.

After the Games, the temporary bridge surface will be removed to create new links from the Olympic Park concourse level down to the river tow paths and Carpenters Lock, a 1930’s historic structure on the River Lea owned by British Waterways.

The areas around the legacy bridge will be landscaped to create new meeting spaces and the permanent structural elements of the bridge will be further revealed with its mirror-finished stainless steel cladding designed to reflect the sunlight off the water in the River Lea. A total of 125 tonnes of steel was used in the construction of the central park bridge which has a Games-time width of 58m, with the two main permanent sections spanning 30m in length.

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