Impressive animation of a 5-part footbridge with a novel cantilevered fan design.

City of London approved a new footbridge that opens and closes like a Japanese Fan.

london, architecture, city, bridge, design, fan

Noted bridge-builder Knight Architects has just received the go-ahead from the City of London to begin the construction of their Merchant Square Footbridge.

Over the last decade, the City of London, the ancient medieval center of the less ancient (and less capitalized) “city of London”, has transformed itself from, well, a medieval town center into the home of some of the world’s most impressive architecture.

From the proposed “walkie-talkie” shaped 20 Frenchchurch St to the gherkin-looking 30 St. Mary, the heart of London looks less like a 2,000 year old city and more like a futuristic metropolis. Given that trend, Knight Architects’ Merchant Square Footbridge will further cement the City’s status as the place for novel architectural design.

What makes the Merchant Square Footbridge so impressive is the way it raises and lowers across the Grand Union Canal’s 20m span. Rather than raising as one unified section, the 3 meter wide footbridge is split into five separate parts. 

According to Knight Architects, “The five steel beams forming the deck open in sequence and shaped counterweights assist the hydraulic mechanism and reduce the energy required to move the structure.”

At its fully opened position, the footbridge looks strikingly like a Japanese fan as each of its five sections are arrested at separate angles that fall between 20 and 80 degrees. The simple elegance of the fan-inspired design, coupled with its complex movement makes this bridge a fantastic addition to London’s architectural map. 

Watch the Bridge in Motion:

Images and Video Courtesy of Knight Architects