ACME’s swan footbridge unveiled

swan footbridge

The final design of a new pedestrian and cyclist footbridge across Oystermouth Road in Swansea has been unveiled. The new structure will seamlessly connect the city centre with a new 3,500 capacity Arena and the Marina, and will become a stepping stone to connect
to the beach.

The design of the bridge by ACME and Ney & Partners, in collaboration with local artist Marc Rees, is intended to celebrate the city through the form and appearance of the bridge. Currently, Swansea city centre is separated from the Marina and from Swansea Bay by Oystermouth Road, the busiest vehicular route in Wales.

In order to expand the city centre to the beach, a new city quarter is being created on previously underused surface carparks. ‘Swansea Central’ will be home to a new Arena and conference centre, circa. 150 room hotel, a 1.1. acre coastal park, residential, offices and retail and leisure uses. At the heart of this quarter will be the new bridge, seamlessly connecting pedestrians and cyclists from one side to another.

The geometry of the bridge is the result of extensive research and formal finding to create a shape that emerges fluidly from the public realm, while at the same time providing an efficient structural solution with minimal depths. The resulting design is a bow-string truss solution with the arches being shaped in plan, and the ‘string’ being replaced with a minimal flat plate.

The plate steel will be rolled into a two bidirectionally curved surface to meet structural and architectural requirements. The pattern on the side panels is inspired by an abstracted silhouette of swans, the result of a close collaboration with the Wales-based artist Marc Rees. The selected colour and lighting acknowledges the historical link Swansea has as the birthplace of the welsh copper smelting industry.

The coloured feature lighting inside the bridge will operate in synch with the LED façade of the new Arena. ACME and Swansea Council are very grateful for the City Deal – and other – funding contributions provided by the Welsh Assembly and UK Government. These have helped councillors forge ahead with this vital regeneration project, which has an anticipated opening date in the second half of 2021. Source by ACME.

  • Location: Swansea, Wales, UK
  • Architect: ACME
  • Structural Bridge Engineers: Ney and Partners
  • Development Manager: Rivington Hark
  • Project Manager: Padstone Consulting
  • Landscape: GL Hearn Limited
  • Planning Consultant: Savills
  • Artist: Marc Rees
  • Client: City and County of Swansea
  • Size: bridge length 46.30 m master plan 7ha (11,500m2 concert arena, 20,000m2 retail, leisure and restaurants, 10,000m2 educational facilities, 10,000m2 residential, 9,000m2 hotel and 1,000 car park spaces)
  • Completion: 2021
  • Images: Courtesy of ACME

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