‘Structurally daring’ bridge to be built near Tintagel Castle

English Heritage seeks designer for clifftop footbridge

English Heritage and Malcolm Reading Consultants (MRC) have launched the Tintagel Castle: Bridge Design Competition.

The international, two-stage design competition seeks ‘an inspired and dedicated team, comprising both architectural and engineering expertise’, for the circa £4 million project in North Cornwall.

One of the most spectacular historic sites within English Heritage’s care and inextricably linked to the legend of King Arthur, 'Tintagel Castle has been prized throughout history', says MRC, 'for its elemental beauty and spirit of place'.

‘The ruins of the 13th-century castle are an outstanding example of a man-made monument interacting with a natural feature – the narrow land-bridge, much eroded over the centuries, linking the headland (or island) with the mainland.’

The new footbridge will be 28m higher than the current crossing and 72m in span. It will open up views of Tintagel, the surrounding coastline and Atlantic seascape, as it traces the path, now lost through collapse and erosion, of the original land-link. It is expected to transform the visitor experience, improving both visitors’ understanding of the site and access.

English Heritage envisages ‘an elegant, even structurally daring, concept which is beautiful in its own right and sensitively balanced with the landscape and exceptional surroundings’ –  given that Tintagel Castle is a Scheduled Ancient Monument lying within an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

‘In our new role as a charity, we are looking for new, imaginative ways to interpret the sites in our care and inspire our visitors,’ says chief executive Kate Mavor. “This competition and this bridge form part of that approach.’

The deadline for expressions of interest is Tuesday 21 July 2015, the shortlist for the second stage will be announced in August and, following a public exhibition of the shortlisted entries, the winning team is expected to be announced in early 2016.

Click here for the detailed brief and to enter the competition, which is being run in accordance with European Union procurement guidelines under the Restricted Procedure. Multi-disciplinary teams with expertise in contemporary design and engineering are invited to enter providing they can satisfy the criteria in the expression of Interest document available through the competition website. No design is sought at the first stage of the competition.

The competition jury includes: Graham Morrison (chair), founding partner, Allies and Morrison; the Reverend Peter Beacham OBE, former English Heritage protection director and author; Ben Bolgar, senior design director, The Prince’s Foundation; Sir Barrington Cunliffe CBE, Emeritus Professor of European Archaeology, University of Oxford; Anna Eavis, curatorial director, English Heritage; Philip Marsden, award-winning author of ‘Rising Ground’ (2014) and ‘The Levelling Sea’ (2011); Roger Ridsdill Smith, senior partner and structural engineer, Foster+Partners; Tracey Wahdan, historic properties director, English Heritage and landscape architect Kim Wilkie. Malcolm Reading will advise the jury.

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