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Plashet bridge, east London - Birds Portchmouth Russum

The bridge takes the form of an S-shape, spanning 65m over a busy road to link two school buildings. The Ushaped composite structure - a pair of universal beams with a box girder deck welded to the bottom flanges - is supported on steel piers and covered with a lightweight PTFE glass fibre fabric stretched over a series of galvanised steel hoops.The steel hoops are assymetrical in shape and alternate along the length of the bridge to give the fabric rigidity.

The 913 x 305mm universal beams are clamped to the two central piers by wedges driven through large hollow pins. In contrast the hoops, hoppers and gargoyles are of lightweight steel and are bolted to the beams.A 193.7mm diameter CHS welded to the top of each beam acts both as a handrail and a conduit for roof drainage, lighting cables and telecom cables.

Rainwater collection is, in the architect's words, 'expressively detailed to provide delight on rainy days'.

Rainwater collects in an upstanding fabric gutter on each side of the canopy and is directed through galvanised steel hoppers into a pipe set inside each CHS handrail.

Steel gargoyles with chains at their ends spout the rainwater down the inside face of the piers to ground level gulleys.

The top flange of each hoop has a pair of 16mm diameter steel bars welded along the outer edges. A 12mm diameter bar runs between them, with welded plates which are bolted to the flange.The edges of the PFTE-coated glass fibre fabric canopy, sleeved with 10mm diameter stainless steel cables, are stretched over the outer bars and fixed to the central bar with steel bands.

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