Moxon Architects have designed a new pedestrian bridge for the King’s Cross Central Development Partnership at its landmark project in the heart of London, King’s Cross in the UK. The bridge spans the Regent’s Canal between Camley Street and what will be known as Gasholder Gardens, forming an important connection for pedestrians and cyclists to the west and to Camden.
Working closely with Arup, expert bridge designers Moxon Architects have designed an incredibly slender steel plate structure. The bridge is only 15mm thick and yet ingenious engineering solutions mean that the entire 38-metre crossing is spanned without any intermediate support.
The bridge blurs the line between architecture and structural engineering: it is an elegantly simple beam shaped in response to structural demands with the minimum materials needed. Early design explorations ruled out cable-stayed or suspension bridges as these would have competed with the surrounding characterful heritage structures: St Pancras Lock and its associated Keepers Cottage, the gasholder triplet and new Gasholder Park, Coal Drops and the St Pancras Water Tower. In keeping with the great Victorian design in the nearby vicinity, the bridge is robust and unadorned, with the structure working as hard as possible. Detail craftsmanship has been employed throughout, through a careful selection of materials and the minimalist shaping of key components that pedestrians will come into contact with.
A sweeping ramp leads people up to the bridge and over the water. An elegant parapet transitions from stainless steel to planed hardwood, changing in shape from the curved profile of the beam to the perfectly straight line of the handrail itself; the railing materials were especially considered as they form the key physical connection between the bridge and the user.
Moxon Architects practice director Ben Addy said, “In such a diverse context of landmark structures and historic fabric it would be inappropriate for the new bridge to be an overly flamboyant structure: it should be a considered and beautiful addition to the location, but even more than this we were keen to develop a design that was as emphatically and enjoyably practical as its Victorian neighbours.”
The bridge has been submitted for planning and if achieved should complete in spring 2017.