The Meadows Gateway

This competition entry introduced a key new route over the River Irwell between Salford and Greater Manchester, designed as a place for all, a gathering place, and a place of social interaction.

Movement, colour, an efficient use of materials and a harmonious relationship with nature drive the design. The bridge is a sculpted intervention in the form of an undulating ‘S’, gently rising from the North bank of the River Irwell to delicately touch Chapel Street, connecting soft and hard edges. The Salford Curve is a continuation of both the green space of Crescent Meadows and the long-established East/West cycle and pedestrian routes between Salford and Manchester.

The pedestrian deck of the curve falls gradually from Chapel Street towards Crescent Meadows, providing access for all to open space. The tapering apexes of the curve are designed to slow footfall as the centre is reached, providing a safe and managed route. It is supported and strengthened by several inverted ‘A’ frames that increase and decrease in size and height, forming a wave as they move along the underside of the ‘S’.

The curve is clad in a diamond lattice of aluminium panels above and below the deck, which vary in height as they move around the ‘S’. Below the deck they follow the line of the ‘A’ frames, which splay out from the curve at its’ widest points on plan. Solid at the base with a split to reveal the structure to the river, the cladding gradually diminishes to an open mesh above the deck, offering panoramic views of the local area.

The outriggers are triangulated trusses, over-clad in aluminium to form blades, soaring to a converging point that connect back to the inverted ‘A’ frames, providing stability and a dramatic structural diagram, signifying both its’ location and the aspirations of Salford. The whole curve is sat on two sculptural, tapering concrete columns, connecting into each side of the riverbank, creating an uninterrupted clear span over the water. The Salford Curve provides spectacular views along the North and West axis of the River Irwell, with the University of Salford, Crescent Meadows, and the rich architectural heritage of Chapel Street as a backdrop.

The bridge is landscape, meeting point, social space and urban conductor.

Client – Salford City Council, Urban Vision
Type – Infrastructure, Bridge, Landscape
Location – Salford, Greater Manchester, UK
Status – Open Competition