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Destructor Bridge

Bath, UK

Sun set Autumnal view of the Destructor bridge with sun reflection in the water below

Destructor Bridge

Bath, UK


Crest Nicholson, Bath & North East Somerset Council


2012 - 2016

Design Team

Knight Architects, COWI, Speirs and Major, Grant Associates


Structural Awards 2017

Architectural finesse in a UNESCO City

COWI and Knight Architects won the competitive bid to design the replacement for the 1870 “Destructor Bridge” in Autumn 2012, in Bath, a UNESCO World Heritage city. The new 45m span was completed in 2016 and carries pedestrians, cyclists and highway traffic across the River Avon and will connect the Bath Western Riverside development with the existing city.

The design is a structurally efficient steel arch form, asymmetric in cross section, which addresses multiple site constraints including the need for a very shallow construction depth. It also provides the development with a riverside landmark and was conceived as a destination for pedestrians as well as a cross-river connection.

Working with the masterplan design guidelines, the design places highway protection to the edges of the carriageway, ensuring the outer parapets are lightweight and transparent to maximise visual connectivity with the river. Architectural features include built-in benches and a lighting design which provides a safe night-time environment.

The structure was designed to be pre-assembled and launched into position, minimising possession time in the river and reducing cost and environmental risks.

bench as part of the arch of Destructor bridge
Close up of the arch of the Destructor Bridge
The sun setting behind the Destructor bridge casting shadows on the floor

“The overall result is the particularly clean and pleasingly simple appearance that can result only from expertly considered engineering”

– Structural Awards 2017, Judges Comments
Destructor bridge lit up against a dark night sky