A new Thames footbridge by Knight Architects is conceived as both a crossing point and a local destination
Designed by Knight Architects and engineer COWI, the new 35-metre Taplow Footbridge carries pedestrians and cyclists over the Thames from Glen Island to Ray Mill Island, linking Maidenhead to a new mixed-use development by Berkeley Homes. The design of the bridge responds both to its setting, amid two riverside conservation areas, and to the nearby Brunel-designed Maidenhead Bridge, whose shallow arched form is reinterpreted in slender steelwork.
Two triangular-section steel arches and a gently curved deck form a “simple and elegant” structure, suggests the architect. “Slender steel plate hangers emphasise this attractive composition and ensure the structure is light in weight and transparent in long river views.”
While the bridge has been constructed as part of the housing development to the south, between the Thames and Jubilee rivers, it is intended to provide the site with a “modest” riverside landmark and to act as a destination for pedestrians as well as a river crossing. The structure “highlights the transformation of the wider site from an unloved post-industrial mess to a beautiful new development”, says Martin Knight, director at Knight Architects. “It has been eagerly anticipated by the local community on both sides of the river for several years, so it is wonderful to see it in public use. Bridges are strongly associated with a sense of place and our new footbridge already feels like a natural part of the new identity of Taplow Riverside.”