Butterfly Bridge, BedfordDesigned by Wilkinson Eyre Architects, Butterfly Bridge is an elegant pedestrian bridge spanning the River Great Ouse.
In 1995 an RIBA competition was launched on behalf of Bedford Borough Council to design a pedestrian bridge across the River Great Ouse. The competition brief made reference to Webster's 1888 suspension bridge, only a few hundred metres downstream, noted as a 'memorable landmark which epitomises Bedford at the end of the 19th century'. Designers were invited to 'build a bridge which would similarly mark the end of the 20th century and the beginning of the 21st.'
Wilkinson Eyre's double-arched cable-stayed bridge was unanimously chosen as first prize winner by the Jury Panel from 79 entries. The panel described it as 'an extremely subtle and elegant design and a beautiful and worthy successor to the Webster bridge.'
Locally nicknamed the 'Butterfly Bridge', the £390,000 32m span bridge was completed in 22 weeks, and opened in November 1997.