Designed by Moxon Architects, the red Esperance Bridge improves connections in the rapidly growing London area
A striking red pedestrian bridge has arrived in King’s Cross, London, designed by Moxon Architects with engineering firm Arup. Named Esperance Bridge, the project spans Regent’s Canal, improving connectivity between King’s Cross St Pancras station and Pancras Square on one side, and Granary Square and Coal Drops Yard on the other. It forms part of the ongoing development of the formerly heavy-industrial area.
The 25-metre painted steel bridge – fabricated by SH Structures – takes its form and bold colour from the lost railway bridges of Regent’s Canal. Its design nods to a demolished bridge that was once in the same position, built in 1821 and used to transport coal to the Goods Yard. In keeping with the Victorian heritage of the area, Moxon deliberately kept the bridge simple and robust, focusing attention on craftsmanship and high-quality materials. The prominent structure has been made primarily of painted carbon steel, in a truss form.
‘Inspired by the area’s industrial heritage the bridge’s articulation is expressive and sculptural, innovative and delightful,’ says Ben Addy, managing director at Moxon. ‘The design expresses the functionality of the structural behaviour of a truss bridge but contrasts this with the slenderness of the stainless-steel diagonal elements,’ adds Martin Hooton, associate at Arup.
The bridge is fitted with integrated lighting designed by Studio-29, which aims to create a stimulating and safe route for the public to cross with ease even at night. The lighting scheme is designed to be as discreet as possible and have minimal impact on the surrounding canal and wildlife.
The bridge’s name – Esperance – has been chosen by local children from King’s Cross Academy, a school situated on King’s Cross Estate. Meaning ‘hope’ in French, the children chose Esperance as a symbol of positivity following a year of hardship for many.
Photography by Simon Kennedy