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Paddington footbridge scoops prestigious award

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Merchant Square Footbridge in Paddington, London has won the Short Span Award at the 6th International Footbridge Awards, which were held in Berlin.

The lifting bridge, which spans Paddington Basin, was designed by Knight Architects with steelwork supplied and installed by S H Structures.

The structure’s fabricated steel beams forming the deck open in sequence, with the first rising to an angle of 70 degrees and the last achieving the required clearance over the canal of 2.5m tall by 5.5m wide at mid-channel.

The footbridge also picked up a prestigious Structural Steel Design Award in 2015.

The judging jury said: “The bridge has a beautiful design, while the geometry is excellent. This is a playful, provocative and innovative opening bridge which is sophisticated in static position and poetic in operation. It adds a significant architectural value to this built environment.

“The design of the footbridge relied on the steelwork contractor’s ability to manufacture the five ‘fingers’ to very exacting tolerances. When in its lowered position these fingers had to effectively create a flat, almost seamless, walking surface.”

The event, which takes place every three years has previously been held in Paris, Venice, Porto, Wroclaw and London. Bridge designers and builders from all over the world come together to exchange ideas, share their views and network with other professionals with the same passion for footbridges.

The awards cover categories for short, medium and long-span footbridges, and for renovation and lighting.

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