The unique circumstances of the Crystal Palace Park Dinosaur Islands and the need for a secure crossing inspired the structural artwork of Swing Bridge. Informed by Tonkin Liu team’s decade-long immersion in biomimetic studies, the project delivers three specific innovations: swinging to access the banks, undulating geometry for structural strength, and the comb construction technique.
To protect access to the Dinosaur Islands, the bridge has been designed to remain in the water and only make its connection to land when access is given for education and for maintenance. This negates the need for a large protective barrier, keeps its distance from the Dinosaurs, and requires only one central foundation.
Responding to budgetary constraints and drawing on the iconography of the bony fish, Tonkin Liu proposed the laser-cut skeletal comb structural technique. The plate is laser-cut to prongs of three different lengths. One prong remains flat to form the bridge deck, one is bent up to form the balustrade, one bent down to form a strut to the lower edge of the central beam, utilising the whole surface of the 10mm steel sheet. This minimises material cost and wastage, reduces the amount of welding by 50%, and allows for the direct expression of strength in sculptural form. The complex steel structure was hot dip galvanized for long term corrosion protection.
Photo © David Valinsky