Network Rail Footbridge

Type Infrastructure

Location United Kingdom

Client Network Rail

Year 2018

The strength of the railway system is in its functional design.
Every element visually express its role, giving a clear and honest image to its users.
The new footbridge design follows this principle. It proposes a rationalisation of the typical footbridge to its main elements.
The aim is to achieve the higher level of functionality and an honest aesthetic which reflects its use and configuration.




The design is based on a 2,7 x 2,7 meters modular unit which satisfies:
– Typical bridge span over the railway by combining 6 units = 16,2 m.
– Head height requirements
– The width (x) is flexible to change depending on the requirements.

The bridge’s structural principles are clearly expressed and integrated in its architecture.
– The modular frames combined together act as a Vierendeel truss to span over the railway.
– The walkway is conceived as a volume contained and supported off the main frame.
– The accessible lift towers provide the main bridge vertical supports.
– The roof is directly supported off the primary steel framing. It cantilevers over the edges to provide shelter and shading, even though the footbridge could work independently in a roofless configuration.

This approach aims for an efficient and economic construction process.
The prefabricated unit design minimises the on-site work, in order to improve quality, transport,
construction time and to avoid disruptions to the railway network.
The proposed design gives the opportunity for a base and a full bridge configurations. The possibility of adding elements to the typical module allows for the maximum flexibility of use and composition.
The bridge layout will be easily adaptable to different contexts and conditions.

A photovoltaic system integrated into the roof design provides sustainable energy for lifts, lighting and signage.
The design strategy is also driven to minimise the embodied carbon footprint.
A more efficient and functional design with fewer finishes results in a reduced amount of materials.
The design for an off-site construction minimise the energy and the waste of materials.
The materials are specified to be durable, with low-maintenance and their modular design allows for a potential re-use on different bridges.

The footbridge layout has the potential to integrate art such as paintings or sculptures, as well as dedicated spaces for musician and performers. The modular grid becomes a white canvas to inspire creativity and allow artists and performers to express.