10.5.2017

Upper Orwell Crossings Project, Ipswich

Following a competition run in partnership with the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), Suffolk County Council is very pleased to announce that Foster + Partners has been selected as the architectural team to join the Upper Orwell Crossings project in Ipswich.

The crossings will be the second project Foster + Partners has undertaken in the town, following the construction of the architecturally significant Willis Building in Ipswich town centre.

The Panel, chaired by Sir Michael Hopkins CBE, selected Foster + Partners from a strong shortlist of five internationally renowned teams that included (in alphabetical order of design firm lead): Adamson Associates with William Matthews Associates and Ney & Partners; Knight Architects; Marc Mimram; and Wilkinson Eyre with FHECOR and EADON Consulting.

Foster + Partners impressed the panel by the quality of their overall approach and thinking, including the initial design concepts presented for the project’s three crossings. The approaches were considered to have the potential to enhance  Ipswich’s thriving waterfront, as well as acting as a catalyst for regeneration of the wider harbour area.

The county council and key partners, including Ipswich Borough Council and Ipswich Vision, keenly anticipate seeing the initial design ideas developed further with the wider project team and in consultation with local businesses, communities and residents.

Spencer de Grey, Joint Head of Design at Foster + Partners, said: “Ipswich holds a special place in our hearts. The Willis Faber Building was a landmark project for the practice, and we are delighted to have the opportunity to contribute to the town once more.

The design of the bridges focusses on enhancing the experience of crossing the Orwell River, increasing interconnectivity and reducing congestion in the town centre.

The project also offers the opportunity to consider the design of the bridges in a wider urban context, creating new promenades and public spaces between the riverfront, inner harbour and island. We look forward to working with the Suffolk County Council to develop and refine our proposals over the coming months to help realise a new urban vision for Ipswich.

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Sir Michael Hopkins CBE, said: “The competition has been extremely worthwhile, generating a wide range of strategies for the Upper Orwell Crossings. Apart from the economical elegance of Foster + Partners’ engineering solution, we particularly admired the integration of the pedestrian routes with the principal vehicle crossing which, taken together, will naturally encourage further development of the island.”

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