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Shortlist announced for £77m Ipswich bridges project

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Foster + Partners and WilkinsonEyre have been named among the shortlisted candidates to design a pair of waterfront bridges in Ipswich

Also in the running for the Upper Orwell Crossings Project are Knight Architects, Paris-based Marc Mimram, and a joint bid by Adamson Associates with Tintagel Bridge victor William Matthews Associates.

After clearing the pre-qualification hurdle following today’s announcement, the firms will now go forward to present their design concepts to a judging panel to be chaired by Michael Hopkins in mid-December. The winner is scheduled to be announced in early 2017.

Planned to start on site in 2020, the Orwell Crossings Project will create two new road crossings at Ipswich Docks and refurbish an existing swing bridge serving the town’s wet dock and marina.

The winning architectural team will join an existing project team led by WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff, who will be responsible for providing structural and civil engineering input to the project.

Suffolk County Councillor Guy McGregor, who is the authority’s lead member for the scheme, praised the ‘excellent interest’ shown in the competition by both UK and international firms with major bridge experience.

‘I look forward to assessing the tender concepts in December,’ he said.

Earlier this month, the design competion attracted criticism from some architects for failing to encourage collaboration with the project engineers from the outset.

Briefing documents said participating architects must consult an engineer or bridge designer when drawing up a scheme, but stipulated that any appointment would cease at the end of the competition stage.

Bridge designer Cezary Bednarski, of Studio Bednarski, said it was ‘totally illogical’ to solicit designs at competition stage without advice from the project’s actual engineer.

Chris Medland of One-World Design Architects agreed, added: ‘A pure design response to creating a crossing fundamentally requires an architect to collaborate with a structural engineer at the outset.’

Ipswich marina image by mkonikkara

Ipswich marina image by mkonikkara

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