Scale Lane Bridge, Hull Public Structure Design, England Project, English Architecture

Scale Lane Bridge, England

Hull Structure Development – design by McDowell+Benedetti

30 Aug 2013

River Hull Bridge Development

Design: McDowell+Benedetti

Location: Kingston upon Hull, England

Scale Lane Bridge on River Hull in full swing

An innovative swing bridge over the River Hull has opened to the public, offering pedestrians the unique experience of riding on the bridge as it opens and closes to river traffic, believed to be a World’s first.

Scale Lane Bridge Hull Structure
photograph © Timothy Soar

The black steel bridge has a distinctive robust character and curving form, making it a memorable landmark that is unique to Hull and its industrial and maritime heritage.

Scale Lane Bridge Hull Scale Lane Bridge Hull Scale Lane Bridge Hull Scale Lane Bridge Hull
photos © Timothy Soar

The winning entry in an international 3-stage design competition held in 2005, the bridge has been built to the original concept by the competition team, main contractor and M&E engineers Qualter Hall, architects McDowell+Benedetti and structural engineers Alan Baxter Associates. The scheme includes a new landscaped garden and square designed by landscape architects Grontmij with lighting by Sutton Vane Associates and an integrated public artwork by Nayan Kulkarni.

Located in Kingston upon Hull east of Hull city centre the bridge connects Hull’s Old Town Conservation Area to the undeveloped industrial landscape of the east bank. Designed as the first stage of a wider masterplan it will unlock the potential of the riverside to promote wider regeneration in the areas east of the city centre. Scale Lane Staith on the west bank has been re-landscaped with a series of stepped gardens leading to a new public square at the threshold of the bridge. The bridge provides a walkable route connecting the Museums Quarter on the west bank to Hull’s major attraction The Deep.

Scale Lane Bridge Hull Scale Lane Bridge Hull Scale Lane Bridge Hull Scale Lane Bridge Hull
photos © Timothy Soar

The River Hull has a tidal range of almost 7 metres and has exposed mud banks on the west side. The 16 metre diameter drum of the bridge sits snugly into the raised river bed on the west bank and cantilevers 35 metres over the water to the east side. The spine of the bridge arches up and over the river, allowing enough room for smaller boats to pass under without need to operate the bridge, and rotates using an electrical drive mechanism to open the route to river traffic when required.

The bridge’s sweeping form creates two generous pedestrian routes, one gently sloping and a shorter stepped walkway. The roof of the drum provides an upper viewing deck with a seamless steel balustrade, which gives the feeling of being on board a docked ocean liner.

The central structural spine of the bridge includes seating areas, creating a variety of places for people to pause on route to relax and enjoy the riverscape views. The spine rises into a back-lit rooflight which provides a marker for the bridge at night.

Scale Lane Bridge Hull Scale Lane Bridge Hull Scale Lane Bridge Hull Scale Lane Bridge Hull
photos © Timothy Soar

When activated the mechanical movement of the bridge is sufficiently slow to allow passengers to safely step onto the bridge from the west bank whilst it is rotating.

Artist Nayan Kulkarni has created a public artwork on the bridge, a sonic landscape in which to enjoy the riverscape. When the bridge opening is activated a new sequence of rhythmic bells is triggered which increases in urgency and combines with a pulsing light developed by lighting consultants Sutton Vane Associates. This has a practical purpose in alerting pedestrians to the imminent opening rotation and it heightens the drama of the ‘ride’.

At night low level fluorescents integrated into the parapet posts light the profile of the bridge and bring colour and sparkle to the blackened industrial riverscape.

Scale Lane Bridge Hull Scale Lane Bridge Hull Scale Lane Bridge Hull Scale Lane Bridge Hull
photos © Timothy Soar

Hull City Council is now actively seeking a tenant to occupy the restaurant space in the bridge hub. Once in place Scale Lane Bridge will become a lively animated public place at all times of the day, fulfilling the design team’s intention to create more than just a crossing but a destination in its own right.

At the official opening on 28 June 2013 Councillor Nadine Fudge, Lord Mayor of Hull and Admiral of the Humber, said:
“It’s an honour to open this unique footbridge on behalf of the city, which links the Old Town to the east banks of Hull. Our Old Town has wonderful museums and attractions and it’s great that we’re able to add another experience for people to enjoy. Hull’s strong maritime history is echoed in the ships bells ringing as the bridge opens and we should be proud that we are continuing to reflect on our heritage.”

Jacquie Boulton, Area Manager at the Homes and Communities Agency said:
“The opening of this bridge gives the city an excellent opportunity to connect the east bank of the river to the city centre creating opportunities for new economic development. It is great that we have been able to work with our partners to create a bridge that is not only useful to local residents and visitors to the city but is also such a fantastic design.”

Scale Lane Bridge – Building Information

Main Contractor: Qualter Hall
Architect: McDowell+Benedetti
Structural Consultants: Alan Baxter Associates
M&E Engineer: Qualter Hall
Lighting Consultant: Sutton Vane Associates
Landscape Architect: Grontmij
Public Art/Sound: Nayan Kulkarni, NK Projects (UK) Ltd
Civil Design: HBPW LLP
Civils – Bridge: A Torn Construction
Civils – Landscaping: Jackson Civil Engineering
Photos: © Timothy Soar

Scale Lane Bridge information / images received from McDowell+Benedetti


Location:Scale Lane, Hull, England

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