Rolling Bridge

The latest cultural adornment to a 2.1-million-square-foot mixed-use development in the Paddington region of West London is a pedestrian bridge that's as much mobile sculpture as engineered structure.

Spanning the mouth of a small dock off the Grand Union canal, the Rolling Bridge rests steady for foot traffic, but opens for boat navigation by curling upward and onto its one fixed support, like a scorpion's tail. The 39.4-foot-long bridge, which has a steel frame and timber deck, was designed by Thomas Heatherwick Studio of London.

The structural metamorphosis from footpath to wheel has become a weekly spectacle for passersby since the bridge's inauguration in September. The feat occurs more often when needed for navigation. Set among a number of Modern, understated buildings, the bridge was detailed seriously and maturely and is almost boring under normal use, says Stuart Wood, a project designer. That heightens the element of surprise when it starts to do its action. There is a strong element of theater.

Source: construction.comAdded: 24 April 2007