The team led by bridge designers Ney & Partners from Belgium and emerging UK architecture firm William Matthews Associates scored the big commission to redesign the 13th-century Tintagel Castle Bridge in north Cornwall in England, with the goal to improve the understanding of and public access to the beloved heritage site. Last September, six finalist teams were shortlisted out of 136 hopefuls who entered the two-stage international competition. If all goes smoothly with the English Heritage's £4 million redesign, the Bridge is expected to be 72 meters long and 28 meters higher than the current crossing.
Although the jury perceived the finalist proposals as all of a strongly competitive caliber, the winning team's "structurally elegant and poetic" approach ultimately won the jury's favor — and the public's as well. Back in December, the proposal was displayed in a public exhibition at Tintagel village.
Keep reading for more about the winning proposal.
Distinguished by the jury for its "elegant, delicate profile and structural ingenuity", the winning concept "is based on two cantilevers and envisages a poetic gap between the two; it will recreate the land-link that once existed between the mainland and headland and reference the current void, caused by erosion." The team's cantilevered solution was inspired from Celtic history and the original drawbridge arrangement of Tintagel Castle.
"'The narrow gap between the cantilevers represents the transition between the mainland and the island, here and there, the present and the past, the known and the unknown, reality and legend; all the things that make Tintagel so special and fascinating,’ the team mentioned during their presentation. They proposed using local slate for the bridge’s decking and contrasting weathered and non-weathered steel to create finishes which allow sunlight to play on the structure but also give it an ephemeral quality, allowing the bridge to harmonize with the coastal landscape."
‘This is a strong and confident concept design with a thoughtful geometry that meets the demanding, multi-faceted Brief. The team presented with admirable clarity – both at interview and in the written materials,’ jury chair Graham Morrison stated. ‘In the end, the jury was persuaded as much by the technical assurance of Ney’s proposal, and its buildability, as its aesthetics and sensitivity to the exceptional setting.’
‘We believe the experience of visiting Tintagel Castle is all about discovery and revelation, so it is important to us that our bridge lets the majesty of the site do the talking, that it is not too intrusive,’ stated Ney & Partners Managing Director Laurent Ney. ‘Just as a good art museum recognizes that the art is greater than the building so the new bridge needs to make the visitor’s reading of Tintagel – its history and cultural power – as strong as possible.’
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