Architecture

London's "Japanese fan" footbridge opens to the public

London's "Japanese fan" footbr...
The newly-opened Merchant Square Footbridge in Paddington, London, opens like a Japanese fan
The newly-opened Merchant Square Footbridge in Paddington, London, opens like a Japanese fan
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The newly-opened Merchant Square Footbridge in Paddington, London, opens like a Japanese fan
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The newly-opened Merchant Square Footbridge in Paddington, London, opens like a Japanese fan
The span of the Merchant Square Footbridge is just over 17 m (56 ft)
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The span of the Merchant Square Footbridge is just over 17 m (56 ft)
The Merchant Square Footbridge is 3 m (9.8 ft) wide and it is split into five separate "fingers" that open in a staggered formation
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The Merchant Square Footbridge is 3 m (9.8 ft) wide and it is split into five separate "fingers" that open in a staggered formation
The first finger of the Merchant Square Footbridge rises to an angle of 67 degrees
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The first finger of the Merchant Square Footbridge rises to an angle of 67 degrees
The lowest finger of the Merchant Square Footbridge rises enough to provide the required 2.5 m (8.2 ft) high by 5.5 m (18 ft) wide clearance over the middle of the canal
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The lowest finger of the Merchant Square Footbridge rises enough to provide the required 2.5 m (8.2 ft) high by 5.5 m (18 ft) wide clearance over the middle of the canal
The Merchant Square Footbridge opened in September
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The Merchant Square Footbridge opened in September
A model of the Merchant Square Footbridge
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A model of the Merchant Square Footbridge
A model of the Merchant Square Footbridge
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A model of the Merchant Square Footbridge

A footbridge over a canal is not usually something that would attract attention for being an architectural spectacle. The recently-opened Merchant Square Footbridge, however, has five "fingers" that are raised and lowered like a Japanese fan.

Gizmag featured the Merchant Square Footbridge last year, following an announcement that the competition-winning design would indeed be built. Created by Knight Architects, the bridge crosses London's Grand Union Canal at Paddington Basin, close to the end of the canal. Despite its location, there is a requirement for the waterway to be kept clear, hence the need for bridges to be able to provide a minimum amount of clearance.

The bridge is 3 m (9.8 ft) wide and is split into five separate "fingers" that open in a staggered formation. Offset bearings are used to achieve this effect, with the first finger rising to an angle of 67 degrees and the final finger being raised enough to provide the required 2.5 m (8.2 ft) high by 5.5 m (18 ft) wide clearance over the middle of the canal.

The first finger of the Merchant Square Footbridge rises to an angle of 67 degrees
The first finger of the Merchant Square Footbridge rises to an angle of 67 degrees

A bascule, or counterweighted, mechanism is used to lift the leaves of the bridge and is driven by a hydraulic system. Each leaf weighs about 6 tonnes (6.6 tons) and has a crossing span of just over 17 m (56 ft).

The Merchant Square Footbridge was opened to the public in September.

Source: Knight Architects

2 comments
Riaanh
Lovely, I love it when art creeps into egineering.
riczero-b
Security aspect- someone could run up the lowest fan finger and leap into the apartment opposite. Jason Bourne probably.