Lit by Speirs + Major, the distinctive footbridge over the River Tees has become a symbol of transformation for North East England.
About the bridge
The brief called for an iconic structure as part of the Stockton-on-Tees regeneration of the North Shore site. The resulting footbridge links the north and south shores and provides better access to business and jobs in the area.
Designed by Expedition Engineering, the slender bowstring bridge cuts a distinctive silhouette across the river. A 230m-long concrete walkway is supported by a pair of asymmetric steel arches that appear to skip across the river almost like a pebble skimming water.
Speirs + Major designed the lighting in such a way that the iconic twin arches reflect in the water at night to form the mathematical symbol for infinity (∞).
About the lighting
Cold white light was used to reveal the structural form and create the sense of a floating wave hovering just above the deck. The designers then bounced blue light off the water to light the underbelly of the deck and form a blue zone above the water.
In typical Speirs + Major fashion, all lighting equipment was carefully concealed. Floodlights are mounted on outriggers away from the bridge so that pedestrians aren’t aware of the fixtures or disturbed by their glare.
An unusual aspect of the project is the way light responds to the presence of people. Along the surface of the deck, lights react to the movement of pedestrians, guiding them down the walkway and signalling the approach of oncomers. The effect is created by low-energy, blue and white LED units concealed under the handrail. As people cross the bridge, handrail sensors trigger a change from blue to white, leaving a ‘comet’s trail’ of light in the pedestrians’ wake.