Tintagel Castle: Bridge Design Competition
Attracting over 200,000 visitors annually, Tintagel Castle is one of the most spectacular historic sites within English Heritage’s care. This scheduled ancient monument is inextricably linked to the legend of King Arthur and has been prized throughout history for its elemental beauty and spirit of place within this area of outstanding natural beauty.
Between land and sea by Dietmar Feichtinger Architectes with Terrell (France)
The new connection re-establishes the historic walkway to the island. Our proposal is a design that replaces the castle’s former wall and historical isthmus virtually, with cables crowned by a linear element – the link. A bowed steel girder is stressed into a horizontal position by stainless steel plates that are anchored in the slopes of the ravine. This structural principle is an inversion of the forces that one would expect for a structure of this kind. Instead of compressed pillars, the bridge is stressed by slender stainless steel plates; pre-stressing means that the 65m-long walkway is both light and rigid. Magically, it uses the maximum potential that is within the structural elements themselves. The bridge is posed on the landward side and it is received by inclined pillars on the island side, providing a structural gap that recalls Tintagel’s symbolism and recreates the processional entrance to the sacred island.
The Bronze Blade by Marks Bar eld Architects with Flint and Neill, J&L Gibbons LLP and MOLA (UK)
The rugged, wild beauty of this rich yet fragile site calls for a robust and delicate response – a bridge that is elegant, e cient, exhilarating and rooted in this spectacular place imbued with mystery.
The Bronze Blade is a beam bridge – the oldest and simplest of bridge structures. Contemporary technology enables us to take it to new levels of breath-taking slenderness. The material choice is inspired by the historical signi cance of the site’s mineral resources; bronze handrails on site and Arthurian legend - the sword Excalibur. The bronze patination will enhance its appearance and durability – creating a visual link to the natural variations in the rock and lichens of the SSSI. The exceptionally tall, slender, twin pillars supporting the bridge are inspired by the dramatic natural stone stack formations and mining chimneys found along the coast. They are striated in coloured, locally sourced, concretes that echo the dynamic seams of the surrounding geology.
Ney & Partners Civil Engineers with William Matthews Associates (Belgium)
The Tintagel Castle footbridge is based on a simple concept: to recreate the link that once existed and lled the current void. Instead of introducing a third element that spans from side to side, we propose two independent cantilevers that reach out and touch, almost, in the middle. Visually, the link highlights the void through the absence of material in the middle of the crossing. The structure – 4.5m high where it springs from the rock face – tapers to a thickness of 170mm in the centre, with a clear joint between the mainland and island halves. The narrow gap between them represents 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.
Niall McLaughlin Architects with Price and Myers (UK)
The construction of a bridge linking mainland and island o ers a spectacular opportunity to solve
the problem of access and to celebrate the landscape. Our proposal makes this link in way that is simple, durable and reinforces the place’s drama: a stone arch of Cornish granite springs across the chasm, seemingly tethering the island to the mainland. The arched form is made of stacked stones. Its segmented construction speaks of the compressive force that holds it aloft, and of the masonry castle walls and stone strata of the site. The apex of the arch is just 200mm deep. Its slenderness promotes economy, ease of construction and minimises the visual impact of the 70m span on this sensitive site. The upper surface of the arch forms a stone path bounded by a handrail of ne bronze balusters that recreates the lost land approach to the castle. It should feel both self-evident and astonishing.
RFR and Jean-François Blassel Architecte, with EngineersHRW, and WSP (France)
High above the waves, the stone arch bridge evokes the solidity of the ancient pathway and isthmus that once existed in its place. The narrowing form of the granite structure echoes the “choke point”, the “Din Tagell”, which gave the island its name. Through the use of natural stone, the bridge takes its place within Tintagel’s historical layers. It grows seamlessly from the cli s, tting naturally within this dramatic landscape. The design team is jointly led by award-winning French engineering rm RFR and Jean-François Blassel. Blassel is a Paris-based architect whose designs are marked by simplicity of function and purity of structural principle, allowing structures to go beyond their primary function and become architectural complements to their surroundings. RFR and Blassel are supported by engineersHRW, a UK-based practice with a re ned aesthetic approach to structural engineering. WSP Parsons Brinckerho will provide key expertise with environmental, geotechnical, and constructability issues.
WilkinsonEyre with Atelier One (UK)
WilkinsonEyre and Atelier One have designed a bridge, with uninterrupted space below, which emphasises a feeling of lightness and daring in a single span. Our modern, light touch intervention uses minimal foundations to recreate a connection over the narrow isthmus between the two parts of Tintagel Castle. It seeks not to compete with the historic remains, but rather serves to enhance the site’s dramatic nature while improving accessibility for all. Constructed from oak and stainless steel, the elements of the bridge are made up from a series of small components that are wheeled to site by hand and assembled in-situ. The bridge deck is straight and relatively narrow with strati ed components, solid in the centre and perforate at the edges, accentuating its linearity. This layering
is inspired by the striking abundance of slate at the site – the layering of the material representing a physical reminder of the passing of time.
Dramatically situated on a windswept Cornish headland, Tintagel Castle is one of the most spectacular historic sites in Britain. It is also one of the most legendary, linked with the tales of King Arthur since the Middle Ages. The remains of the 13th-century castle, built in the 1230s and 1240s by Richard, earl of Cornwall, brother of Henry III, stand among the remains of a much earlier and more extensive settlement dating from the fifth to seventh centuries.
At the competition’s first stage, 137 applications were received from 27 different countries, including the United States, Russia, India, Japan, South Africa and Chile.
Consultations on the design of the new bridge will start early next year in advance of consent applications later in the year. The project is expected to be completed by Spring 2019.