River Douglas Bridge

  • Location: Preston
  • Programme: 2008
  • Contract Value: £2.5m

When we walk along one of the UK’s abandoned railway lines we travel on an artificial datum, the natural land rising and falling in relation to a ‘flatline’ – sometimes in a cutting, sometimes (as here) on an embankment.

The proposals for the missing link at the River Douglas draw attention to this characteristic of our railway walks. At the new bridge, the flatline is perturbed as the footpath and bridleway is divided into three, each with a series of ripples moving past each other. These ribbons undulate and arch over the river, the marshland banks, and the footpaths. In future, additional ribbons will be able to drop down and serve the riverside walkers. In this proposal, two are grass and one is sand.

The result is a memorable, distinctive, site-specific bridge that is also playful.