Network Rail Footbridge Design Ideas Competition  London

In 2018 Network Rail launched a Footbridge Design Ideas Competition in the search for innovative design concepts of fully accessible pedestrian footbridges across the UK rail network.

There were a total of 121 entries from around the world, and we were delighted to take part, working collaboratively with Design4Structures. Combining our creativity and experience allowed us to create a structurally feasible footbridge, that was not only beautiful, but affordable and quick to construct.

Design Principles

The footbridge is a connection between places, people and environment, the design principles are accessibility, sustainability, modular off-site construction and creating a new user experience. The bridge concept addresses the local context, urban or rural, with a positive effect on the natural environment. It is functional and affordable to build, operate, maintain, repair and replace.

The octagonal shape allows us to have parallel standardised walls and a complex inside to provide an interesting experience for the user.


The interior structure of the bridge allows open-end windows to enhance the views to the surrounding context. The varied structure allows for inbuilt LED lighting, AV / advertising and directional way finding.
The colour and material palette is in contrast with the external cladding to allow for a better customer experience for all users.

Structural concept

The tubular shape provides architecture and structure combining beauty and support. The exoskeleton reflects lightness and elegance.

Flexibility and modular concept

The structure has been designed to provide modular elements that could be replicated. If longer bridges are required in different locations of the UK, the bridge could be “extended“ to achieve longer spans by adding modules.

Prefabrication / off-site manufacture

Despite the tubular structural exoskeleton, the geometry of the bridge has been conceived to get straight members. In fact, all the members are straight and very easy to manufacture by adopting standard sections easily available in the market.


Environmental issues have been considered throughout its lifespan: during the construction process, while it is in use and being maintained, and finally, when it is replaced or demolished.

Steel is the most recycled construction material. When a steel bridge reaches the end of its useful life, the girders can be cut into manageable sizes to facilitate demolition and returned to steelworks for recycling. Some 99% of structural steel either finds its way back into the steel making process where it is used to create new steel products or is reused. There is no degradation in the performance of recycled steel. Alternatively, component parts of steel bridges can be reused in other structures; entire bridges have been relocated and bridges can be designed with ease of future relocation in mind.

The bridge will sustain itself economically and potentially generate revenue for its owner and the community surrounding it.