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South Dock Bridge

Isle of Dogs, London, UK

South Dock Bridge

Isle of Dogs, London, UK


Tower Hamlets Council


2019 - Ongoing

Design Team

Knight Architects, Arcadis, KGAL

Where historic and contemporary commerce meet

The Isle of Dogs, in east London has been a major trading centre beside the River Thames for almost two hundred years, with Canary Wharf located here since 1980. The South Dock is one of two surviving docks on the Isle of Dogs. Levels of pedestrian traffic have grown above what could be accommodated by the existing infrastructure, this led Tower Hamlets Council to plan a new bridge. The crossing, which neighbours Knight Architects' Water Street Bridge, is expected to become one of the busiest pedestrian bridges in London.

The structure is a two-span variable-depth steel beam with a single central pier in the dock. Each of the spans is approximately 35m long. The bridge provides a permanent navigable channel for smaller boats to pass underneath and a 25m wide channel without height restriction, courtesy of a bascule lifting span. The deck width varies from 7.8m at the south end to 15.4m at the north.

A triangular void in the movable span directs people away from an existing emergency staircase serving the adjacent building. It also makes the structure more transparent, distinctive, and memorable, allowing views through the deck when the bridge is raised. The north abutment hosts the drive mechanism and a concealed counterweight to minimise the energy needed to open the bridge.

Paying tribute to the history of Canary Wharf, the bridge’s sculptural geometry echoes the curved base of the historic cranes that were once sited along the quays.