[FIRST LOOK] Wilkinson Eyre has completed this new 7.5m-long footbridge at London’s Victoria & Albert Museum
The stepped link, which drops 3.5m between entrances, acts as an escape route from the museum’s newly refurbished Ceramics Galleries to the neighbouring administration block.
Describing the scheme, a practice spokesman said: ‘[This] simple folded, perforated stair plate is supported within a series of steel frames arranged at regular centres. Shelter is provided overhead by an integrated glazed canopy. At night an illuminated wall allows the whole composition to be visible from Cromwell Road outside the Museum.
‘This footbridge demonstrates the spatial potential of contemporary design and construction techniques.’
The structure uses torsion box beam spans between the buildings and the bridge’s frame and was developed with engineers Dewhurst McFarlane.
The V&A’s Ceramics Galleries have recently been re-designed for the first time in 100 years by London-based architects Stanton Williams. Seven galleries display 3,000 objects from the ‘greatest and most comprehensive ceramics collection’ in the world. Stanton Williams extended the suite of galleries by ‘reclaiming space’ previously used for offices to create a new gallery for temporary displays. This additional gallery has exposed the domed ceiling, covered up for nearly a century, and opened up external views.
The introduction of this additional public space lengthened the existing escape path. As a result, an external covered escape stair was required to connect the gallery to the adjacent Secretariat Building. The footbridge can be viewed from the new galleries as well as from the Cromwell Road outside the Museum.