Heatherwick’s Rolling Bridge

The Rolling Bridge was designed by the award-winning Heatherwick Studio, working with structural engineers SKM Anthony Hunts. Installed in August 2004, the Rolling Bridge spans an inlet of the Grand Union Canal, towards the head of Paddington Basin.

The Rolling Bridge at first appears inconspicuous; a simple steel and timber footbridge. To allow access for a boat to be moored in its inlet however, it slowly curls up until its two ends meet, forming an octagonal sculpture that stands on one side of the canal towpath.

The twelve metre bridge is made from eight triangular segments, which fold towards each other. The master unit hidden underground powers hydraulic rams within the bridge parapets, which fold the handrail. This is what enables the bridge to curl.

The Rolling Bridge was constructed at Littlehampton Welding in Sussex, and arrived at Paddington by canal. Since its official opening in September 2004 it has won a Structural Steel Award and an Emerging Architecture Award.

Every Wednesday and Friday at midday, and on Saturdays at 2pm, the team at Merchant Square delight visitors and people who live and work in Paddington by demonstrating the Rolling Bridge in action.

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