The design of a new pedestrian and cycle bridge in Sydney, Australia, is inspired by the shape of baracuda eels and their migration to the Pacific Ocean from the very pond it crosses.
The sinuous curved shape of the 40m bridge is reminiscent of the movement of slowly swimming eels by means of lateral body movements, according to Sam Crawford Architects, the firm that designed it.
The new accessible footbridge replaces a dilapidated and inaccessible pedestrian bridge. It connects the park to a new light rail station, wider pedestrian/cycling networks and surrounding suburbs.
Sam Crawford, said: “The shape, movement and color of the long-finned eels are reflected in the shape and materiality of the bridge design. The bridge celebrates ancient Aboriginal culture and is an eco-friendly addition to the sprawling Centenary Parks, linking them to the surrounding areas of central Sydney.
The bridge widens in the center to form a viewing platform. The materials have been carefully chosen for their low maintenance, durability and 100% recyclability.
Local speckled gum is used for handrails and curbs, sandstone for cobblestones and retaining blocks. A lightweight, non-slip fiberglass reinforced plastic (FRP) mesh was selected for the bridge deck.
To minimize disturbance to the pond ecosystem, only three piles were driven into the pond bed. A four-pin cruciform steel structure of each pile supports the bridge and provides lateral and longitudinal stability.
To ensure accuracy and minimize waste, the entire structure and balustrade was assembled offsite and reassembled onsite. 3D shop drawings ensured the accuracy of every connection and component before manufacturing.