corporation street bridge, manchester

On 15 June 1996 a large bomb exploded injuring 220 people and causing immense physical damage to the core of Manchester city centre and its social and economic fabric. The shattered footbridge, which connected two shopping centres across Corporation Street, remains one of the most vivid images. The renewal programme is now complete and in 1997 the competition for a new footbridge was won.

Contextually Corporation Street is canyon like and is a significant, linear north-south route through the City culminating with the civic space of Albert Square. The footbridge takes the form of a hyperbolic paraboloid of revolution and appears as a lightweight glazed membrane stretched across the street. Its transparency is heightened by the arch which permits uninterrupted aspects along the street, and whose symmetry optically redresses the change in level of the boardwalk which threads through from side to side. Outside the membrane are 18 straight 25 mm tension rods and 110 mm circular hollow section compression members which spiral in an alternating clockwise and anti-clockwise direction.

Truncated conical collars anchor the structure to buildings either end and natural ventilate the bridge.

This project has turned into a sort of landmark for the city of Manchester, a sort of memorial to the bomb attack and a cutting-edge symbol of modernity and the city’s culture.”

Mario Antonio Arnaboldi,
December 2000