The Millennium Bridge
EC4 (North bank) to SE1 (South bank)
Foster and Partners 2001
The Millennium Bridge is the
first new bridge across the river Thames in London
since Tower Bridge opened in
1894, and it is the first ever designed for pedestrians only. The bridge
links the City of London near St Paul's Cathedral with the Tate
Modern art gallery on Bankside.
The bridge opened initially on
Saturday 10th June 2001. During this day and the next two days a huge
amount of people crossed the bridge producing a sway movement that was far
greater than expected; in order to fully investigate and resolve the issue
the decision was taken to close the bridge on 12th June 2001.
It was re-opened on 27th
February 2002. During that interval, extensive investigations and
modifications were carried out to resolve the sway of the bridge. Research
indicated that the sway had been caused by the accumulative sideways
movement generated by large numbers of people crossing the bridge
together. The solution involved installing dampers under the deck and
between the deck and the river piers. This has provided an excellent
solution as it does not detract from the aesthetic impact of the bridge as
Foster and Partners'
architectural concept for the bridge was developed in close collaboration
with sculptor Sir Anthony Caro and Arup engineers. The concept was to
create a structure of minimum intervention; a 'ribbon of steel' across the
river. This has been achieved with a very shallow suspension bridge
consisting of two 'Y' frames and eight cables, four each side. The
lightweight deck, four meters wide, passes between these two sets of
cables and is supported by structural arms which connect onto the cables
at eight-meter intervals. The cables dip below the deck level at the
mid-span point, so that the bridge does not impede views of London from
further up and down the river. The lighting has been incorporated into the
structure and is activated by photo-cells at dusk, transforming the
structure into a 'blade of light'.
This bridge celebrates and
encourages human movement and communication - free of traffic and
accessible to everyone, it provides a key pedestrian link and a place to
promenade while enjoying panoramic views of the city.
The Millennium Bridge is a
simple concept that has achieved a simple form via a complex and
Perrin 2003, updated 2007
How to visit
The Millennium Bridge is
situated between Blackfriars Bridge and Southwark Bridge on the river
Thames in London. It is accessible 24 hours a day.
The nearest underground stations
are Blackfriars or Mansion House, both on the Circle line and District
line. The nearest mainline station is Blackfriars.
From the North side, approach
the bridge along a path from Upper Thames Street, half way along the
length of St Paul's Cathedral. From the South side, approach the bridge
from the Tate Modern.
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