Kurilpa Bridge / Cox Rayner Architects with Arup

© Christopher Frederick Jones

Architect: Cox Rayner Architects
Location: Tank Street, Brisbane,Queensland 4000
Project Year: 2009
Cost at completion of construction: $63M
Gross floor area (m2): Span 130 metres
Project Team:Michael Rayner, Antony Scott Pegum, Hang Ling, Casey Vallance, Philip Cox, TristramCarfrae ,Ian Ainsworth, Tom James
Consultant Team:
Photographs: Christopher Frederick JonesRoger D’Souza

   

© Christopher Frederick Jones

The Kurilpa Bridge project was an opportunity to not only make a new pedestrian and cycle connection across Brisbane’s river but also new forms of public space, as well as a symbol of a city forging its identity at the forefront of art, science and technology. Its origins as a physical link lay in our own late 1990s planning coinciding with the design of the Brisbane Magistrates Court, its value enhanced by the revitalisation of Queensland’s Cultural Precinct and the emerging city precincts in the northern CBD and South Brisbane. Its conceptualisation, based upon Buckminster Fuller’s principles of tensegrity, was to simultaneously resolve unusual physical challenges, such as navigational constraints and motorway spanning, and embrace the spirit of a city relaxed, subtropical city seeking to prioritise walking, cycling and healthy lifestyle. Equally, the design of the structure and its spaces is conceived to celebrate and engage with the river both viewed from its vantage points and viewed out from its primary and ancillary spaces. Lastly, on an international perspective, it is designed to embody and convey Brisbane’s emergence as a contemporary design city.

© Christopher Frederick Jones

Conceptual Framework
The underlying intent of the design of Kurilpa Bridge was to reinforce and embody the relaxed, informal intrinsic nature of Brisbane and its subtropical environment. Having explored each conventional bridge form during the major architectural competition (arch, tube, suspension and girder), we saw in the tensegrity typology a potential to enrich this city’s character and vitality, to celebrate its emerging design identity expressed in the adjoining cultural precinct, and to create public spatial diversity beyond those possible in standard bridge forms.

© Christopher Frederick Jones

Public + Cultural Benefits
Kurilpa Bridge provides for Brisbane a significant pedestrian and cycle way that both connects its CBD and Cultural Precinct, and forms a completed loop of movement between South Bank and the CBD together with the Goodwill Bridge. Its design creates new spatial experiences for Brisbane and its visitors, both in itself and in appreciation of the river. For Brisbane’s indigenous people, it has important meaning as connecting across the place in the river where their ancestors travelled, this significance being expressed in stories, written by Jagera and Turrbal peoples, along the journey.

© Christopher Frederick Jones

Relationship of Built Form to Context
The form of Kurilpa Bridge evolved from analysis of other (more conventional) structures, which for the physical spanning and foundation conditions, all generated massive visual impacts on the context. The tensegrity typology was explored for its ability to enable design to predominate over engineering constraints, and refined to create interesting scale relationships with the Gallery of Modern Art, the South East Freeway and the CBD. This process involved wide design consultation with community organisations, the Gallery and indigenous representatives, the latter in particular regarding Kurilpa Park.

Elevation

Program Resolution
The Kurilpa Bridge design had to contend with several unusual challenges. Of these, the most formative was the position of the navigational channel preventing descent of the structure until it crossed the southern river bank. Only the tensegrity structure minimised the deck thickness sufficiently such that the ramp down did not consume Kurilpa Park, important as a city space and to Aboriginal people. The design also worked to meet the equally complex challenge of spanning the South East Freeway, and lastly it integrated the required continuous canopy within its system.

Plan

Integrationof Allied Disciplines
The collaboration between architects Cox Rayner and engineers Arup was equal and inseparable throughout the design process.
Cost / Value
The Government budget was $63 million. The efficiency of the tensegrity structure enabled it to be developed under this budget, enabling the creation of the extensive viewing spaces, incorporation of multi-programmable lighting and invitation to the Jagera and Turrbal people to contribute the stories.

Section

Sustainability
The very creation of this bridge has significant sustainability outcomes for the city especially promoting walking and cycling over vehicular travel. From a design perspective it is the world’s only solar-panelled pedestrian bridge, used to power the lighting.

Diagrams 01

Response to Client + User Needs
Kurilpa Bridge has elicited many responses, the most compelling being patronage already exceeding original estimates.

Diagrams 02

View this project in Google Maps

* Location to be used only as a reference. It could indicate city/country but not exact address.
Cite: "Kurilpa Bridge / Cox Rayner Architects with Arup" 06 Dec 2011. ArchDaily. Accessed 19 Apr 2014. <http://www.archdaily.com/?p=186214>

9 comments

    • Thumb up Thumb down +2

      hey yes
      it is indeed an amazing geek work to stabilise all of this !
      really nice slim slab
      my question is : what is an architect actually usefull for in such a project ? … chose the painting colour and then ??? say it is blabla architect with ARUP ?
      Architects are so humble, that is great !

      • Thumb up Thumb down -1

        you couldnt have less of an understanding of the role of an architect or the design process

      • Thumb up Thumb down +1

        @mastershake your response is idiotic. In his entry he outright admits that he does not understand the role of the architect in the design process of this bridge. You respond by pointing out the obvious, which he is not trying to hide, and barating him for it. And he has a point. A bridge must be shaped to meet any structural requirements – which is done by engineers. There should be little left for the architect to do after that. If that statement is wrong you could debunk it and explain why he is wrong. Instead you only insult just like any moron who laks any arguments would do. Better to say nothing if you can’t or won’t debunk your oponents statement.
        @WD this can definately be said about you to.

  1. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    This is so ugly.. it looks like pick up sticks.. it detracts form the waterfront viwes.. why couldn’t it have grace and elegance instead of steel schizophrenia

  2. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    Àhh tensegrity! We are slowly getting to grips with Buckminster Fuller’s visions! Now to cover a city with a dome, anyone?

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