What a curious sense of deja vu!
The winner has just been announced for RIBA's River Soar Footbridge contest. The new bridge, a short span over the river in Leicester, is part of a regeneration project and connects the National Space Centre with proposed housing at Wolsey Island.
The winning design is from Buro Happold and Explorations Architecture, the same team who also just won the Metro West River Liffey competition.
With, it might seem on first sight, the exact same bridge!
It's a remarkable double achievement for the designers.
The design is a partially underslung suspension bridge, which I'd guess for many people will be reminiscent of the London Millennium Bridge, although it doesn't go for such an expensively shallow cable catenary. There are also similarities to the Arup / Wilkinson Eyre designed "living bridge" in Limerick although that one is completely underslung. The Arup design also has the advantage that it was (so far as I can tell) designed as a self-anchored bridge, removing the expense of anchorage foundations.
Happold's design is also more expensive than a conventional suspension bridge due to the need to brace the main cables apart rather than just hang the deck below them, but it certainly results in a very elegant design.
Unlike the far larger Metro West bridge, it's an appropriate structural design for the context. The support towers will require oversized foundations (unlike a conventional suspension bridge, there are no ground anchorages, with the main cables held by the towers acting as cantilevers), but that won't be apparent visually.
Images of the other shortlisted entries aren't yet available, but I'll return to this one if they are published.