Softroom’s solution for a new standard footbridge for Network Rail was one of four finalists in a RIBA competition, chosen out of more than 120 entries from 19 countries. Our design, developed with structural engineer Eckersley O'Callghan and Inverse Lighting, uses transparency and lightness of form to create an enhanced experience for passengers crossing the railway and a safer, more open environment.
The Network Rail Footbridge Design Ideas Competition sought new ideas to help inform Network Rail in their design and installation of fully accessible pedestrian footbridges across the UK rail network. Entrants were set the challenge to design fully accessible footbridges that could be used across Britain’s rail network. The competition was looking for ideas that were innovative, challenged presumptions and raised expectations for the quality of future design.
In our design, the slim steel box girder bridge construction allows full-height glazing to maximise views down over the station when crossing the tracks and views up in to the bridge for passengers on the platform. At either end, the bridge is supported on the staircase structure. The absence of columns creates an open waiting area. Slimming the staircase footprint and enclosing the lower part of the lift tower with glass maximises sightlines and enhances the sense of openness at platform level.
The experience of using the stair and bridge maintains visual links to the platforms below. The overall form of the bridge resolves all of its various functional needs within a dynamic form that is sympathetic to the railway environment and representative of advanced technological nature of rail travel in the twenty first century.