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Floral Street Bridge
Wilkinson Eyre Architects

Wilkinson Eyre has given Covent Garden a symbol of artistic aspiration linking the Royal Ballet School and the royal opera

© Nick Wood

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By Sara Hart

In spite of its diverse practice, London-based Wilkinson Eyre Architects has solidified its reputation internationally as a designer of spectacular bridges. Its Floral Street Bridge at Covent Garden is a fraction of the scale of its award-winning Gateshead Millennium Bridge spanning the Tyne River, but just as powerful.

Because the bridge spans a mere 30 feet across an unassuming street in London’s Covent Garden, one would assume that the program would call for a modest functional footbridge connecting the back sides of two buildings.
But these aren’t just any buildings. Floral Street separates the Royal Ballet School from the landmark Royal Opera House. Ballet students, faculty, and staff of the school needed a direct link to the stage of the opera house. The client wanted a strong architectural statement—one that would provide an integrated link between the buildings while giving Floral Street a prominent identity.

The openings between the buildings are not aligned, making a straightforward orthogonal resolution seem like a jerry-rigged collision between two architecturally distinct structures. To avoid that trap, Wilkinson Eyre conceived a deceptively simple, yet immediately legible design. An aluminum spine beam supports a timber deck and a series of square aluminum hoops. Between the openings, each hoop rotates 4 degrees relative to its neighbor and shifts in plan to accommodate the skewed alignment of the facade openings. The whole structure twists a quarter turn from one end to the other.

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Formal name of Project:
Floral Street Bridge


Span: 31 feet

Total construction cost:
$1.42 Million

The Royal Ballet School

Wilkinson Eyre Architects
Transworld House
100 City Road
London EC1Y 2BP
Tel: +44(0) 20 7602 7900
Fax: + 44(0) 20 7608 7901


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