A new bridge for Tintagel Castle - Competition winner announced

The team led by Ney & Partners Civil Engineers and William Matthews Associates win the competition to design a new bridge for the Cornish site.

A breath-taking proposal for a footbridge at Tintagel Castle has helped a team led by Ney & Partners Civil Engineers and William Matthews Associates to win the competition to design a new bridge for the Cornish site.

Tintagel Castle is one of the most spectacular historic sites in Britain. Today the remains of the 13th century settlement can be seen on both the mainland and jagged headland or island jutting into the sea, but Tintagel’s divided landscapes were once united by a narrow strip of land. As part of a £4m English Heritage project, the new bridge at Tintagel Castle will follow the path of the original land bridge and help visitors to better understand the site’s history, improve access to the island, and help to protect and conserve the landscape.

The winning team’s concept is distinctive for its elegant, delicate profile and structural ingenuity. The concept proposes cantilevers on either side of the mainland and island that reach out across the void and almost touch in the middle, leaving a narrow gap which represents in the team’s own words, “the transition between the mainland and the island, here and there, the present and the past, the known and the unknown, reality and legend; all the things that make Tintagel so special and fascinating.”

The winning team's concept design for the new bridge at Tintagel Castle © MRC/Emily Whitfield-Wicks and Ney & Partners

English Heritage’s Chief Executive Kate Mavor, said: “The winning team’s concept is daring and very exciting.  It is not the final design but instead a brilliant indication of the team’s talent and imagination. We will now work with them on a design that will both complement the spectacular landscape and unlock for the visitor the history of the site.

“In our new role as a charity, we are looking for new, imaginative ways to interpret the sites in our care and inspire our visitors – this bridge forms part of that approach.”

The team’s inspiration for the cantilevered bridge concept design came from their study of Celtic history and the original drawbridge at Tintagel Castle. The team’s concept proposed using simple and durable materials for the bridge including local slate for the decking.

The concept by the winning team proved popular with the public following an exhibition in Tintagel village, and on-line, of the concepts by the six competition finalists. The comments were fed through to the expert panel of judges who made the final decision.

Ney & Partners is a renowned engineering consultancy which has produced nearly 100 bridge designs over the last 18 years including most recently, footbridges at two UNESCO World Heritage Sites, Bruges in Belgium and Albi in France. William Matthews Associates is an emerging architectural practice who previously won an international design competition for the renovation of the Union of Bulgarian Artists in central Sofia.

The winning team of Ney & Partners and William Matthews Associates were among the 137 practices which entered the international design competition, organised by Malcolm Reading Consultants.

English Heritage will work with the team on the final design which will be subject to a number of consents and approvals, including planning permission and Scheduled Ancient Monument Consent. It is planned for completion in 2019.

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