Normally, the fact that a city approved a new pedestrian footbridge for construction would be rather, let’s say, pedestrian. But when the bridge in question is also a “kinetic sculpture”, things get more interesting.
The Merchant Square Footbridge, a sculptural bridge designed by Knight Architects, is slated to open next year — and judging from the concept video, it’s going to be beautiful.
Just like a Japanese hand fan, the footbridge unfolds in pieces around a stationary hinge, allowing boat traffic to pass through London’s Grand Union Canal. And like a traditional hand fan, the structure is hinged asymmetrically, with a long and short side of the fulcrum. In this case, the short sides are counterweights, which help the hydraulic jacks move the bridge up with less energy.
The result isn’t just structurally innovative — it’s a stunning piece of design too. It will make Londoners wish for more boat traffic, even if they’re in a hurry to get to the other side.