Network Rail and the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) have announced the winner of a design competition for the possible railway footbridge of the future.

As announced by Rail Engineer on 13 August 2018, Network Rail and RIBA Competitions set the challenge to design fully accessible footbridges that could be used across Britain’s rail network.  The competition was looking for ideas that were innovative, challenged presumptions and raised expectations for the quality of future design.

In all, over 120 entries were received from 19 countries.  The evaluation panel was very impressed by the high quality of the submitted entries, the breadth of the approaches and interesting ideas developed in response to the challenge.

Footbridge competition winning design (Gottlieb Paludan Architects and Strasky, Husty and Partners)

Although the competition was open to amateurs and professionals alike, it was the pros that won the day. Danish architectural practice Gottlieb Paludan Architects, working with Czech engineering and bridge specialist Strasky, Husty and Partners, put forward a bridge which most convincingly addressed the wide range of practical challenges whilst proposing a bold, elegant and uncluttered response that would create an uplifting experience to suit many contexts.

Due to the high quality of the entry, the judges also decided to highly commended the entry by Hawkins\Brown with WSP.  They commented that this design presented a strong strategic approach, proposing a modular ‘kit of parts’ that would enable a standardised bridge system to be adapted via the use of simple pre-fabricated, clip-on modular elements to different contexts and settings, with the footbridge being conceived as a social engine focussed on people and place.

The entry by Hawkins\Brown with WSP was Highly Commended for its modular design and its focus on people and place.

Anthony Dewar, head of buildings and architecture at Network Rail, said: “Footbridges can have a significant positive impact on their local environment and offer wider social and economic benefits.

“As part of Network Rail’s commitment to make the railway more inclusive and fit for today’s needs through good design, the competition winner will be added to our new catalogue of improved station footbridge designs, and we are in discussions to agree how this idea can be fully realised.

“We have been overwhelmed by the response to this competition and would sincerely like to thank all the organisations, design professionals and students who entered.”

An exhibition of a selection of the entries submitted to the competition including the winning and highly commended designs will be held at the RIBA in February 2019.