Swansea’s Copr Bay bridge has won an award for the high standard of its design.
At the Structural Steel Design Awards 2023, judges praised the bridge for providing a dramatic new gateway to Swansea.
They also commented on its striking form and colour, which helps acknowledge the bay’s history as a centre of coal and copper production.
Developed by Swansea Council as part of the city’s Copr Bay district, the 49-metre long bridge links the city centre with Swansea Arena, the coastal park and the maritime quarter.
Cllr Rob Stewart, Swansea Council Leader, said: “Oystermouth Road had always been a barrier between the city centre and the waterfront.
“The new bridge has created a far better connection between those two areas for pedestrians and cyclists, while also becoming a Swansea landmark for motorists driving in and out of the city.
“Its design also means the bridge has become a popular photo location for residents and arena-goers, helping further raise Swansea’s profile across the UK and beyond.
“The bridge is one part of a £1bn regeneration story that’s ongoing to create a more vibrant city centre for living, working, learning and enjoying.”
The Copr Bay bridge was designed by architectural practice ACME. The structural engineer was Ney & Partners and the steelwork contractor was SH Structures Ltd.
The design balances a contemporary feel with references that celebrate the city’s heritage.
Designed by local artist Marc Rees, the 2,756 laser-cut origami-inspired shapes dispersed across the bridge’s panels create silhouettes of swans.
Mr Rees said: “It has been the thrill of a lifetime to be involved in such an iconic part of the regeneration of my hometown.
“Dylan Thomas infamously described Swansea as an ‘ugly, lovely town’. Whatever the merits of that when he said it, Swansea’s aspiration to change, grow and flourish is more than apparent now.”
ACME design director Friedrich Ludewig said: “The iconic arch stabilises the super-slender bridge deck and creates a new urban space floating over the road, enclosed by patterned steel offering glimpses across the road, the arena and the new coastal park.
“Steelwork was chosen primarily because of its structural properties and ability to span large distances. It gave the design flexibility to work with an interesting structural solution.”
Weighing 140 tons, the single span bridge is 12 metres wide and 7.5 metres high.