The Scale Lane swing bridge over the River Hull opened to the public in July, the result of a 2007 design competition won by London-based architects McDowell+Benedetti, engineer Alan Baxter Associates and contractor Qulater Hall.

In this programme we visit the bridge and see it in action as the 900 tonne structure swings over the 60m-wide Hull. We look at how the structure was designed and made and examine the bridge’s role in regenerating the eastern bank of the river.

Key Learning points:

  • What were the key drivers behind the bridge design competition?
  • The bridge’s hybrid (stress skin and truss) structure explained
  • How the bridge was constructed and taken to site
  • How engineers coped with variable loads on a moving bridge
  • A bridge to nowhere? Has the bridge been a success?

About the contributors

Jonathan McDowell, Partner at McDowell+Benedetti architects, studied architecture at Cambridge University (Downing College) and at the Graduate School of Design, Harvard, USA. He has worked for Julyan Wickham Architects, Sansom Cross Architects and Terry Farrell Partnership before becoming an Associate at Munkenbeck & Marshall (1986-90) before setting up Jonathan McDowell Architects in 1991.

In 1996 he formed McDowell+Benedetti with Renato Benedetti. The practice has established an international reputation for design excellence across an unusually diverse range of projects of different types and scales.

James Carstairs, Senior structural engineer with Alan Baxter & Associates, has worked there since graduating from the University of Bath in 2005.

James’s past projects have been widely varied and include new pedestrian bridges, residential and commercial developments, and theatres, as well as the refurbishment of a number of high profile historic buildings in central London.


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