This beautiful structure is the Rolling Bridge (despite it being more of a “curling bridge”). You can find it on the Grand Union Canal at Paddington Basin in west London.
It looks like a normal bridge until – wait – it starts curling up over the water…
The bridge begins to curl up like a caterpillar every Friday at noon. It’s normally down in its more typical “bridge-y” position to allow people to get to their homes and offices but it opens up for the boats that are also moored in the area.
The bridge is made up of eight triangular sections that will eventually fit together and its movement is powered by hydraulic cylinders.
Finally it settles into its closed, octagonal shape.
The “Rolling Bridge” (they should really change the name) came together thanks to teamwork between many engineers and designers.
It was thought up by Heatherwick Studio, the people behind the awesome torch sculpture that we saw on our TV screens during the London 2012 Olympics.
The Rolling Bridge was designed by SKM Anthony Hunt with Packman Lucas, and built by Littlehampton Welding Ltd. The Hydraulic design and development was done by Primary Fluid Power Ltd in the North West of England.
Heatherwick Studio was started by English designer Thomas Heatherwick. He’s currently working on the new “Garden Bridge” - a beautiful new project to connect north and south London across the River Thames.
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Photo credits: Thanks to Loz Pycock (images 2, 4 and 5), Cristina Bejarano (1, 3 and 6), Neil (8) and ForgeMind Archimedia (9, 10): Flickr | Creative Commons