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St. Philips Footbridge

Bristol, UK

View from walkway of the whole footbridge crossing the River Avon in Bristol

St. Philips Footbridge

Bristol, UK


Bristol City Council


2015 - 2019

Design Team

Knight Architects, Jacobs (Ch2m)

Contractor Team



SH Structures


Offsite Award for the best infrastructure project 2020

BD&E Bridges Awards Construction Award projects below £5 million 2021

ICE Medium Sized Project Award 2020 (Shortlisted)

A first step towards positive identity and regeneration

The historic Temple Meads railway station in Bristol has seen rail-related activities for almost 180 years, however much of the land is no longer in use. Changing Temple Island into a new neighbourhood is one of Bristol's most important urban development projects.

The new St. Philips footbridge spans the River Avon, improving access to Temple Island, which is surrounded by the watercourse, two railway lines and a highway. The 50m-span and 4m-wide footbridge resolves a complex crossing problem: the connection of two banks with a significant level difference.

The bridge shape is a forked steel beam with a ramp for disabled people and cyclists and a staircase on the pedestrian ‘desire line’. A holistic architectural, functional, and structural approach resulted in a bridge that is compact and clearly legible for users while being architecturally distinctive.

The bridge was planned as a catalyst for urban regeneration, setting the new quality benchmark for the future development of the area. When the bridge was planned, there were also plans for a major public entertainment venue on Temple Island. This has given way to a mixed-use development with more than 500 homes.

Abutment, edge beam and parapet with river below of footbridge crossing the River Avon
Steps, parapet and handrail of St Philip's footbridge in Bristol
Footbridge in distance crossing River Avon in Bristol

“St Philip’s Footbridge is a brilliant example of how aesthetic, structural and functional needs have been simultaneously met by thoughtful and painstaking design to create one of Bristol’s most beautiful bridges. To a setting which is rather a mish-mash, it brings a quiet, still point of modernist order. Ten out of ten”

– Jeff Lucas, “From Brycgstow to Bristol in 45 Bridges”