Winner announced

Six shortlisted concept designs are unveiled online and will go on public display tomorrow in Tintagel village, Cornwall

English Heritage released today [December 3, 2015] images of the shortlisted concept designs produced by the six teams vying to win the Tintagel Castle: Bridge Design Competition.

The images will go on public display at the Tourist Information Centre in Tintagel village from tomorrow until December 11, as well as being available digitally through the dedicated microsite.

The winning team for this spectacular circa £4m project will be chosen by an eminent expert jury. English Heritage’s brief to the nalist teams was that the winning design must be “...a bridge that is of its place, a bridge that, with its structural elegance and beauty, is in harmony with its extraordinary setting and landscape” . Twenty-eight metres higher than the current crossing, the new bridge will open up exhilarating views of Tintagel, the surrounding coastline, and the Atlantic seascape as it traces the path – now lost through collapse and erosion – of the original land-link between the mainland and the headland. The footbridge is expected to transform the visitor experience, improving understanding of, and access to, the site.

Kate Mavor, chief executive of English Heritage, said,

These concept designs bring the reality of a new bridge so much closer. The competition is all about finding the right team but the concept designs help us to visualise each team’s approach and new bridge will complement this exceptional landscape.

Graham Morrison, chair of the jury, said,

Here are six very di erent and clear ideas, all beautifully presented; we are delighted with the response to the brief. Any of these teams is capable of making a worthy addition to the setting. The jury is very much looking forward to the detailed assessment process and, ultimately, selecting a winner.

Malcolm Reading, architect and competition organiser, said,

Designing a bridge for such a challenging environment is a daunting test but these proposals haven’t compromised – they show a love of materials and engineering panache. The structure needs to say it all in a glance but it must also prove satisfying to use, economically-sound, practical to build, and have a healthy life-span.

Announced in September 2015, the shortlisted teams are (in alphabetical order with lead consultant first):

  • Dietmar Feichtinger Architectes with Terrell (France)
  • Marks Barfield Architects with Flint and Neill (UK)
  • Ney & Partners with William Matthews Associates (Belgium)
  • Niall McLaughlin Architects with Price and Myers (UK)
  • RFR and Jean-François Blassel Architecte, with EngineersHRW and WSP (France)
  • WilkinsonEyre with Atelier One (UK)

Detailed descriptions of each of the six proposals are given in the teams’ media statements below in Notes for Editors.

The concept designs will go on public display at the Tourist Information Centre in Tintagel village from December 4 to December 11, 2015, from 11am to 6pm daily. Public feedback on the designs may be given via comment cards at the exhibition or by email to [email protected]. Feedback will be passed to the jury, who meet to interview the teams and select a winner early in the New Year.

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.

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.

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.


Tintagel Castle: Bridge Design Competition

The competition has been advertised in the Official Journal of the European Union. For full details of the process and biographies of the jury please visit the microsite.

Dietmar Feichtinger Architectes with Terrell (France) media statement
Between land and sea
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.

Marks Barfield Architects with Flint and Neill, J&L Gibbons LLP and MOLA (UK) media statement
The Bronze Blade
The rugged, wild beauty of this rich yet fragile site calls for a robust and delicate response – a bridge that is elegant, efficient, 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 significance 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) media statement
The Tintagel Castle footbridge is based on a simple concept: to recreate the link that once existed and filled 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) media statement
The construction of a bridge linking mainland and island offers 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 fine 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) media statement
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 cliffs, fitting naturally within this dramatic landscape. The design team is jointly led by award-winning French engineering firm 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 refined aesthetic approach to structural engineering. WSP Parsons Brinckerhoff will provide key expertise with environmental, geotechnical, and constructability issues.

WilkinsonEyre with Atelier One (UK) media statement
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 stratified 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.

Tintagel Castle

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.

English Heritage

English Heritage cares for over 400 historic monuments, buildings and sites – from world famous prehistoric sites to grand medieval castles, from Roman forts on the edges of empire to Cold War bunkers. Through these, it brings the story of England to life for over 10 million visitors each year.

With English Heritage’s new freedom as a charity, its ability to engage with millions of people is now greatly strengthened. A major programme of investment in its properties is under way and a priority is to deliver inspirational projects of the highest quality that capture the public’s imagination.

English Heritage is a charity (no. 1140351) and a company (no. 07447221), registered in England.

Malcolm Reading Consultants

London-based Malcolm Reading Consultants (MRC) is a strategic architectural consultancy which specialises in the selection of contemporary designers. MRC believes in the power of design to create new perceptions and act as an inspiration – either at the local level, or internationally.

Recent international and invited design competitions include those for the Art Mill, Qatar; Gallaudet University, Washington D.C., USA; the Guggenheim Helsinki, Finland; the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park’s Culture & Education Quarter, UK; the Mumbai City Museum, India; the Natural History Museum, UK; the UK Pavilion at Milan Expo 2015, Italy; New College, Oxford, UK; the Cadogan Estate, London, UK; Marlborough College, Marlborough, UK.