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Ordsall Chord

Manchester, UK

View of rail bridge from pedestrianised area alongside the bridge

Ordsall Chord

Manchester, UK


AECOM Mott MacDonald JV


2014 - 2018

Design Team

BDP (concept design), Knight Architects, AECOM Mott MacDonald JV

Contractor Team

Skanska BAM JV


RICS North West Award 2017

North West Construction Awards 2017

ICE North West Award 2018

Structural Steel Design Awards 2018

Architects Journal Awards 2018

BCI Transport Project of the Year 2018 (Finalist)

Greater Manchester Chamber Building of the Year Award 2018 (Highly Recommended)

RIBA North West Building of the Year Award 2019

RIBA North West Project Architect of the Year Award 2019

New standards for collaborative project delivery

Ordsall Chord is a vital new rail connection between Piccadilly, Oxford Road and Victoria Stations in Manchester. Completed in 2018 as part of commissioning client Network Rail’s ‘Northern Hub’ Scheme, the £32m viaduct links the three stations for the first time and provides significant improvements in network capacity, resilience and connectivity.

The weathering steel rail viaduct culminates in the dramatic River Irwell crossing, a distinctive network arch whose curvaceous form swoops below deck level to engage with a new public realm landscape. Winner of the RIBA North West Building of the Year 2019, the dramatic design has been acclaimed for its catalytic effect on the disused post-industrial setting and its detailed execution.

Knight Architects worked with the AECOM Mott MacDonald JV in order to deliver BDP’s original design, ensuring that the construction methodology and detailing was in keeping with their original concept. It was important to emphasise the River Irwell Crossing as a new landmark whilst acknowledging the historic sensitivity of Stevenson’s Bridge nearby.

Aerial view looking down at the bridge curves on the back of transporters
Close view of the curvaceous form of the bridge, made of weathering steel
View of rail bridge crossing the River Irwell

“The final project brings local delight in the striking form of the new river bridge and a strong identity through its materiality and consistent detailing”

– RIBA Journal