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McDowell+Benedetti’s contest-winning Italian footbridge starts on site

Work has begun on McDowell+Benedetti’s new £3.5million footbridge in the town of Terni, near Rome

The 180m-long bridge has two elements: a 60m-tall inverted ‘tripod’ tower; and pair of ring ‘halos’ which connect the cables supporting the bridge.

Constructed from steel to reflect the area’s heritage, the bridge features a timber deck ‘punctured along the route with under-lit translucent glass strips’.

The scheme also includes improvements to Terni’s existing rail station which is attached to the bridge. A new triple-height atrium will be added to the station concourse alongside improvements to the public realm.

The practice won the job in an international design contest in 2012.

The project is expected to complete in 2015.


The architect’s view

‘The design comprises two elements: a 60m-tall inverted ‘tripod’ tower and pair of ring ‘halos’ connecting an asymmetric array of cable-stay spans that supports the gently curved 120m main bridge section attached to Terni station. The remaining 60m section is supported by a truss, which allows for its repositioning to release and connect more development land at a future date. This reposition-able section evolved from our long-term masterplan identifying a future need for another bridge nearby and the strategic, controlled redevelopment of redundant rail sidings.

‘The bridge’s sculptural form, materials and construction draws on Terni’s steel-making industrial heritage, while its gently curving route improves the commuter experience for residents of Terni. Other design features include a robust timber deck and balustrades to handrail height to give a warm natural character, and higher balustrades in tensioned stainless-steel mesh to ensure transparency, lightness and views. Continuous under-handrail lighting ensures long views without glare for users, while under-lit translucent glass strips at structural rhythm points punctuate the timber deck surface. From afar, the lighting accentuates the verticality of the tower whilst the glowing ‘halo’ cable supports complement and contrast with the gently arching horizontal line of the timber balustrades.’


Project data

Location Terni, Italy
Type of project new build footbridge and station refurbishment
Client Comune Di Terni
Architect McDowell+Benedetti
Architectural liason in Italy Ottone Pignatti Studio Associato
Structural engineer Konrad Xuereb/Arup (Stage 1); Manfroni Engineering Workshop (Stage 2)
M&E consultant Omega Srl
Quantity surveyor Arch. Andrea Calo
Planning supervisor 3d Progetti
Main contractor Cobar Spa
Funding European Regional Development Fund (80 ); Local Authority (20%)
Tender date February 2014
Start on site date July 2014
Completion date 2015
Gross internal floor area 648m² (bridge), 70m² (station)
Form of contract and/or procurement Design and Build
Budget €4.3million

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