When I first heard of the proposed link, I was somewhat concerned for the security of the dinosaurs, but architects Tonkin Liu, with engineering input from Arup, have designed a beautiful structure which pivots in the lake, swinging open by manual operation only as required, and otherwise remaining in the closed position out of reach of the water's edge.
I glimpsed the design last year, when a delicate model of it was exhibited at the Royal Academy summer show. Its bony form in steel, evoking those giant skeletons we've all seen at the Natural History Museum, won it the BKI Architecture and Materials Prize. The contract to build this eight metre structure was won by Cake Industries, an art and architectural metalworking firm based just down the road in Sydenham, and over the course of its fabrication, I was privileged to be given access to document the work. And what a thrilling spectacle it was, watching the sparks fly, as workshop manager Ed Jacobs and his team turned laser cut components into an elegant footbridge.
Central core / pivot
|Ed Jacobs & Oli Cheyne|
Laser cut rib structure
|Progress meeting with architect and engineer|
|David Knight of Cake Industries on the right, updating engineer Stuart Chambers, and architect, Mike Tonkin|
|Ellinor Michel of Friends of Crystal Palace Dinosaurs|
|Architect, Mike Tonkin|
Timber mould for the bridge spine
Attaching the rib structure
The structure complete, it was then loaded onto a truck, and transported to The Midlands for the galvanising process. Thanks to Cake Industries for supplying video footage. Sadly the current crisis was by this stage, already under way, which pushes any date for site works in the park, and the bridge's installation into the realms of uncertainty. So you may have to wait a little longer than planned for part 2 of this blogpost.
Videos: Cake Industries
Architect: Tonkin Liu
Fabrication: Cake Industries (Ed Jacobs, Oli Cheyne, Marnie Robinson, Carwyn Evans, Quinn Thompson, James Torble)
Laser cutting: M-Tec Architectural Metalwork
Galvanising: Joseph Ash Ltd.