New footbridge at King Arthur’s legendary birthplace Tintagel is crowned winner of building award

New footbridge at King Arthur’s legendary birthplace Tintagel is crowned winner of award celebrating British building beauty

  • A new footbridge at King Arthur’s legendary birthplace has won a prestigious award in the building industry
  • The Tintagel Castle Footbridge spans a 190ft gorge and features a one-and-a-half inch gap in the middle#
  • The structure was opened by King Charles in 2020 and provides a link to the two halves of the Cornish castle
  • It was named overall winner in the inaugural Building Beauty Awards at Bloomberg’s European headquarters

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A new footbridge at King Arthur’s legendary birthplace has been crowned the winner of a prestigious award celebrating British building beauty.

The Tintagel Castle Footbridge, which spans a 190ft gorge and features a one-and-a-half inch gap in the middle, scooped the richest prize in UK architecture at a glittering awards ceremony in London this evening.

The bridge – which was opened by King Charles in 2020 – provides a link to the two separate halves of Tintagel Castle in Cornwall for the first time in more than 500 years.

The structure recreates the lost medieval crossing at one of Britain’s most spectacular historic sites.

The original walkway between the 13th-century gatehouse on the mainland and the courtyard on the headland jutting into the sea collapsed in the 15th or 16th centuries.

The new bridge was named overall winner in the inaugural Building Beauty Awards at Bloomberg’s European headquarters in London.

The Tintagel Castle Footbridge, which spans a 190ft gorge and features a one-and-a-half inch gap in the middle, scooped the richest prize in UK architecture at a glittering awards ceremony in London this evening

The Tintagel Castle Footbridge, which spans a 190ft gorge and features a one-and-a-half inch gap in the middle, scooped the richest prize in UK architecture at a glittering awards ceremony in London this evening

The bridge - which was opened by King Charles in 2020 - provides a link to the two separate halves of Tintagel Castle in Cornwall for the first time in more than 500 years

The bridge – which was opened by King Charles in 2020 – provides a link to the two separate halves of Tintagel Castle in Cornwall for the first time in more than 500 years

The structure recreates the lost medieval crossing at one of Britain¿s most spectacular historic sites

The structure recreates the lost medieval crossing at one of Britain’s most spectacular historic sites

British architect Lord Foster presented the honour at the ceremony organised by the Royal Fine Art Commission Trust.

It was one of 13 projects shortlisted at the awards which celebrate buildings, engineering projects and urban landscaping schemes that add beauty to Britain’s environment.

Construction of the the 225ft long structure of steel, oak and Cornish slate has been described as one of the most ambitious and complicated heritage projects seen in the UK in recent years,

Built in Plymouth and designed by Ney & Partner engineers and William Matthews Associates Architectural Practice, the bridge consists of two independent cantilevers of approximately 100 feet each in length that reach out from either side to – almost – touch in the middle.

The landmark, which is run by English Heritage, welcomes almost 250,000 visitors each year.

The judging panel, led by the trust’s chairman Stephen Bayley, said of the project: ‘This was a challenging assignment, given the terrain and the sensitivity of the site as both an ancient monument and a place of natural beauty.

‘How best to complement the dramatic context? The answer is not timidity but the kind of boldness that suits the rough and raw Atlantic coast of Cornwall.

‘The designers, necessarily, have understood every inch of their canvas and from an intellectual response to the engineering requirements have generated something graceful, perfectly poised, restrained: nothing here is unnecessary but what is necessary has been finessed to the point of beauty.’

The structure also won the engineering category in the awards sponsored by developer Ballymore, and received a £10,000 cash prize.

It will now represent the UK in the race to be crowned the world’s most beautiful new building at the World Architecture Festival in Lisbon on December 2.

The original walkway between the 13th-century gatehouse on the mainland and the courtyard on the headland jutting into the sea collapsed in the 15th or 16th centuries

The original walkway between the 13th-century gatehouse on the mainland and the courtyard on the headland jutting into the sea collapsed in the 15th or 16th centuries

The new bridge was named overall winner in the inaugural Building Beauty Awards at Bloomberg¿s European headquarters in London

The new bridge was named overall winner in the inaugural Building Beauty Awards at Bloomberg’s European headquarters in London

The structure was one of 13 projects shortlisted at the awards which celebrate buildings, engineering projects and urban landscaping schemes that add beauty to Britain¿s environment

The structure was one of 13 projects shortlisted at the awards which celebrate buildings, engineering projects and urban landscaping schemes that add beauty to Britain’s environment

The footbridge beat off stiff opposition from the winners of three other categories – building, public space and ‘Little Gem’.

The building category was won by a shared-ownership housing development project in east London which is described as having helped ‘generate pride’ and ‘a sense of civility’ in a crime-hit community.

The McGrath Road development in Stratford came out ahead of two Manchester buildings – the Oglesby Centre and the Welcome Building at RHS Garden Bridgewater to win the title.

The development of townhouses designed by architect Peter Barber sits around a central courtyard in ‘a reinterpretation of Victorian back-to-back housing typology, creating a beautiful space that stands out from its surroundings’.

The judges said: ‘Peter Barber is one of the most innovative and exciting social housing architects, creating developments with marked visual and kerb appeal.

‘High-quality materials, provision of communal space and a robust, muscular aesthetic – all evident at McGrath Road – generate pride and a sense of ownership in residents and act as a beacon locally, giving a lift and a sense of civility to a neighbourhood that suffers the usual inner-city problems of crime and anti-social behaviour.’

The Illuminated River project – an eye-catching art installation stretches 3.2 miles across nine Thames bridges in central London – won the public space category.

The judges said: ‘Until recently – until this project, more precisely – the Thames in central London was a black ribbon with precious little night-time personality, its darkness punctuated every so often by more or less random floodlighting. No more.

‘This art installation, covering three miles of the serpentine river, acts as a permanent yet ever-mutating light festival: the lighting on each bridge changes to a timed sequence but also with the tide and the river’s moods – the reflections on the water mean that this is a light show on the river itself as much as on the static mass of the bridges.’

The ‘Little Gem’ title went to the Tower of Light and Wall of Energy in Manchester, designed by Tonkin Liu Architects for Manchester City Council and Vital Energi.

The structure comprises a tower, clad in laser-cut steel sheets in a shell-lace structure, and a street wall clad in ceramic tiles, housing flues for a low-carbon energy centre within the tower.

The judges were impressed with its aesthetic appeal and durability, saying: ‘Projects of this sort can be stage-set flimsy, the visual appeal fading from the moment the cheap materials collide with the messy reality of city living.

‘But these structures are convincing and solid, beautifully made in durable materials: one feels their aesthetic appeal will grow rather than ebb with time.

‘In daylight the ceramic tiles give the wall a strong personality.

‘Clever lighting gives the tower an equally powerful presence at night, when the perforations in the envelope mutate into compelling patterns and the surface reflects the headlights of passing cars.’

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