Bridge Link

Winner of an RIBA award 2019. The judges said:

The bridge has been exquisitely detailed and constructed to sit as a wonderful addition to this farmyard setting. Constructed by a whole series of local craftspeople the build was managed directly by the client and it has clearly been a labour of love. The end result being an exquisite addition to this welsh farm yard setting.

The diagonal plan of the bridge means that as you enter it from the house your first view is of the wonderful Black Mountains via a full height glazed wall and not your destination. The floor of the bridge then lifts and widens slightly at the centre of the span adding to the feeling that one is truly crossing a bridge before leading you to the solid oak doors of the entrance to the studio. The walls and ceiling flex around you to continually alter your spatial perception and focus your attention on different aspects of the ‘building’. It provides a truly wonderful architectural experience of light and space in just a few square meters.

The slender blue tubular steel frame reminiscent of a bicycle frame gives you a sense of the overall structural concept while the oak flooring and walls wrap around it giving a sense of warmth in their materiality. The glazing has been minimally detailed while the bright orange yacht hatches playfully provide ventilation to the space from behind the slender oak rain screen cladding.

Externally the bridge sits between the two existing structures as a series of oak and glass origami panels that flex effortlessly against each other. At the junction with gable walls a neat shadow gap sets the structures apart allowing the bridge to almost hover in the void between the two buildings”.

The bridge connects the original 19th century farmhouse to a building I designed ten years ago as a studio-workshop. At that time the complex of buildings operated as an arts centre. The owners applied successfully for a change of use to residential which allowed them to add the studio-workshop to their living accommodation in the farmhouse. A tractor had to pass between the buildings and so what could have been a relatively simple ground floor link became a bridge at first floor level.

Externally the bridge appears to be a giant work of origami. The tubular steel structure, exposed internally, was inspired by a bicycle diamond frame. The green oak cladding will weather and tone with the older exposed oak joinery of the adjoining buildings. Large windows give views into the old farmyard, and more dramatically southeast across the Black Mountains; which can be contemplated from a built-in seat where the bridge widens mid-span.