Salford goes global as bridge shortlist revealed

riba salford comp

Architects from a record-breaking 31 countries around the world have submitted their plans to build a new pedestrian bridge in Salford across the River Irwell.

Overall, the contest, run by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) Competitions Department, received 172 submissions from 31 countries, with architects and engineers from as far afield as China, Australia, Chile, and India coming forward with a range of different designs. The entries have now been whittled down to a shortlist of four.

The shortlisted teams (in alphabetical order) are:

• Atelier Zündel Cristea, Paris
• Mott MacDonald with Moxon Architects, Altrincham and London
• Toby Savage Design Limited with Wolfgang Buttress Studio and LDA Design, Stockport
• Tonkin Liu Limited with Arup, London

Held jointly by Salford City Council and RIBA, the competition looks to open up the untapped green space at the Meadows to local residents and students. The site for the new bridge – The Meadows – covers around seven hectares and forms the northern section of the Irwell River Park (IRP) project.

IRP is set to be an international destination involving a partnership between Salford, Manchester and Trafford councils and will be the catalyst for major economic expansion in the area. The bridge is the next step in the IRP project, and is expected to be an iconic creation linking The Crescent (A6) with The Meadows.

IRP will be an international waterfront destination. The project, involving a partnership between Salford, Manchester and Trafford councils, will be the catalyst for major economic expansion in the area as it seeks to link up £3 billion of investment through greater use of the River Irwell and the Manchester Ship Canal.

And three new bridges have already been built across the Irwell and the Manchester Ship Canal, as part of plans to improve direct connections at key sites across Salford such as MediaCityUK and Greengate, alongside a bridge link to Manchester at Spinningfields.

The new bridge will play a crucial role in connecting these areas of Salford to the £650 million redevelopment of Salford Central near to the University of Salford, including the £10 million transformation of Chapel Street, and some of the city’s beautiful green spaces.

The Judging Panel included Renato Benedetti, McDowell + Benedetti acting as the RIBA Adviser, and Salford City Mayor Ian Stewart.

Stewart said: “The amount of entries we had and the range of countries they were from is a testament to Salford’s reputation as a modern global city. Professionals from around the world want to make a contribution to Salford’s growth.”

They Mayor continued, “the entries we have chosen are truly visionary for what they could offer to Salford. The bridge we hope to build here will be a crucial part of the area’s future. Huge investment is going into Salford Central and the Chapel Street area – an iconic bridge with a global reputation will sit perfectly with that.”

Benedetti announced, “We were overwhelmed with the quantity and quality of the submissions received, especially with the international nature of the response and the wide variety of approaches taken. This made our job as Judging Panel members more interesting and challenging and the four selected schemes are certainly worthy examples of Salford City Council’s aspirations for the project and the wider urban context.”

The shortlisted teams will now meet the full judging panel at a final interview in November after which an overall winner will be selected.