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First look

WilkinsonEyre completes pair of monocoque-structure link bridges in City of London

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The bridges connect the differing levels of Nos. 1 and 2 New Street Square, built 15 years apart, both part of Deloitte’s central London ‘campus’

The two bridges, intended to be identifiable visual landmarks, link two client-facing areas at first floor level and two staff-only areas at seventh floor level, including the main restaurant.

The team of WilkinsonEyre with engineers Eckersley O’Callaghan came up with the design concept of a switchback ramp to take up the level change within the length of the bridges themselves, resolving accessibility requirements as simply as possible. 

So each bridge has a three-way switchback ramp, combined with two flights of steps, and incorporate places to meet, work or just sit and enjoy the view.

The bridges are articulated as linked monocoque structures with stepped steel floors for greater strength and increased rigidity. Built on the ground, they were lifted into place in a single piece.

1175 n68 pressnew

1175 n68 pressnew

Source: WilkinsonEyre

The glazing of the bridge walls is also stepped for strength, allowing the glass panels to support the lightweight roof without the need for structural mullions. The roofs are formed from carbon fibre and incorporate skylights to improve the internal environment, while polished mirror on the underside of the decks distort views of the surrounding townscape. The principal external materials of glass and stainless steel were chosen to reduce the need for maintenance.

Timber is primarily used internally, and is intended to create a calm space, with light oak floor wrapping over the terraform surface and the ramps separated by a balustrade of slats of birch plywood, each individually lit. The ceiling is made up of individual slats of timber hiding ceiling-mounted services, while in-built worktops and seating are made of sub-lit blocks of Perspex fitted between the plywood slats. 

Localised heating, cooling and ventilation is provided via a series of ‘trench’ units recessed into the floor of each bridge and positioned to help offset cold down-draughts and solar gains.

1175 n65 pressnew

1175 n65 pressnew

Source: WilkinsonEyre

Architect’s view

We scratched our heads when faced with the challenge; the level change was too great to ramp over the road which suggested awkward ramps on the office floors or an unsightly platform lift, both of which would disrupt people flow, when the brief was to achieve a seamless connection. The solution came in a piece of geometry; a three-way ramp and two flights of steps; ensuring a step-free route as required.

As is often the way, the concept unlocked other design aspects; the floor plate became a monocoque deck rigidised by the folds of the ramps. Similarly corrugated glass façades supported a carbon fibre roof without the need for columns. Furthermore, the ‘landscape’ of the deck became an extension of the floor plate; with places to sit and places to perch with your laptop.

Giles Martin, director, WilkinsonEyre

1175 n53 pressnew

1175 n53 pressnew

Source: WilkinsonEyre

Axonometric plan

Project data

Start on site September 2018
Completion date December 2019
Gross internal floor area Lower bridge: 71m²; Upper bridge: 77m²
Form of contract or procurement route Traditional, JCT 2011
Construction cost Undisclosed
Architect WilkinsonEyre
Client Deloitte
Structural/façade engineer Eckersley O’Callaghan
M&E consultant Hoare Lea
Lighting designer GIA Equation
Façades access and maintenance consultant D2E
Accessibility consultant David Bonnett Associates 
Planning consultant Avison Young 
Fire engineer Aecom 
Structural engineer (1 New Street Square) HPM 
Structural engineer (2 New Street Square) Pell Frischmann 
Project manager Avison Young
Principal designer MLM Group
Approved building inspector GSA
QS Deloitte
Main contractor Overbury
CAD software used Rhino
Overall area-weighted U-value 0.856 W/m²K (link bridges)
Design life 60 years

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Readers' comments (1)

  • No long sections, so it's difficult to be sure, but some people prefer stairs and landings to ramps, and it would appear that the middle 'ramp' of the three might in fact be a long landing - suggest in the top right of image 17/19.
    But perhaps the comfortable gradient limitations for the ramps / distance between buildings / height difference between levels rendered this unfeasible.

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