HF & P proposed a bridge design for the Nelson Mandela Bridge over the railways linking Braamfontein and Newtown in Central Johannesburg.

HF & P felt that the site required a bold, sculptural solution from an architectural point of view, and that a cable-stayed bridge would not offer enough of a contrast from the clutter of railway masts, cables and tracks present on site.

The design, based purely on structural principles combining bending moments with prestress forces, comprises a tower and three “waves” of decreasing height, lending a zoomorphic quality to the bridge. The tower acts a strong focal point for the Newtown suburb, earmarked by authorities for urban regeneration. A variation on the design also included an enclosed space at the top of the tower to be used as a radio station or observatory. The design makes use of locally proven technology (incremental launching & post-tensioning) for a totally unique structure with no precedent anywhere in the world, all the while minimizing disruption to traffic during construction.

Ultimately, the design came very close second to the winning cable-stayed bridge and was not chosen for construction.

Project Information

Architect: Wilkinson Eyre Architects

1999