The appointment of Foster & Partners follows a competition run by Suffolk County Council and the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) Competitions.
The £77m Orwell Crossings Project will see the proposed construction of two new crossings near the town’s waterfront area, together with the refurbishment of an existing swing bridge across the lock that provides access to the Wet Dock and its marina facilities.
The judging panel selected from a shortlist of five international teams that also included: Adamson Associates with William Matthews Associates and Ney & Partners; Knight Architects; Marc Mimram; and Wilkinson Eyre with FHECOR and EADON Consulting.
The judges said that they were impressed by the quality of Foster’s approach, including the initial design concepts presented for the project’s three crossings. Foster’s plan was considered to have the potential to enhance Ipswich’s waterfront and act as a catalyst for regeneration of the wider harbour area.
Foster & Partners will now join a project team led by engineer WSP Parsons Brinckerhoff. It is envisaged that the project will also seek to use early contractor involvement to aid development of the design concepts. [See our previous report here.]
Spencer de Grey, head of design at Foster & Partners, said: “Ipswich holds a special place in our hearts. The Willis Faber Building was a landmark project for the practice, and we are delighted to have the opportunity to contribute to the town once more. The design of the bridges focuses on enhancing the experience of crossing the Orwell River, increasing interconnectivity and reducing congestion in the town centre. The project also offers the opportunity to consider the design of the bridges in a wider urban context, creating new promenades and public spaces between the riverfront, inner harbour and island. We look forward to working with Suffolk County Council to develop and refine our proposals over the coming months to help realise a new urban vision for Ipswich.”
Suffolk County Council leader Colin Noble said: “The design element of the project is crucial and, with Foster & Partners’ input, I believe the final design of the crossings, once completed, will be looked at in the same light as their iconic Willis Building in Ipswich’s town centre.”