Sackler Crossing

London, United Kingdom


John Pawson Architects

James Newton


Award of Distinction, IIDA Awards 2007

Special Projects Award, Lighting Design Awards, 2007

Award of Excellence, IALD Awards 2008

Stephen Lawrence Prize, RIBA, 2008

RIBA Award, 2008

Architecture + Environment

The sinuous S-shaped form of the Sackler Crossing appears to hover just above the surface of the lake at the Royal Botanic Gardens of Kew.

Our lighting treatment for the bridge is simple, understated, and in tune with the mercurial nature of the design. It allows the bridge to reflect in the water, and in turn, the water to reflect into the solid bronze uprights that form the balustrade of the bridge.

To achieve the smooth shimmering effect we were after, we created a custom uplight that was recessed in the bridge deck at either side, between each bronze upright. These gently illuminate the inner surfaces of the uprights, as well as reflecting light onto both the deck and people crossing the span. Through our careful design, the source visibility is minimized and the fitting itself effectively disappears into its environment.

The Sackler Crossing is put in context after dark, thanks to the gentle highlighting we added to specimen trees on the adjacent island. Depending on the direction of approach across the bridge, these trees are either silhouetted in blue light with the front face picked out in white light, or vice versa. With the Royal Botanic Gardens remaining mainly dark at night, the bridge itself shines ethereally, as if lit by moonlight.

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