Millennium Bridge

Millennium Bridge
Millennium BridgeDesigned by Foster and Partners, Sir Anthony Caro,
and Ove Arup & Partners, Millennium Bridge is a
technologically advanced pedestrian bridge over the
Thames between St Pauls and Bankside.


In July 1996 a two stage international open competition was launched for the design of a new pedestrian bridge across the River Thames, between Bankside and St Pauls. The new bridge would create a direct link between the north and south side of the river, and encourage the revival of a long-neglected area of London.

The competition received an overwhelming response, with over 200 worldwide entries at stage one. A Jury Panel assessed the designs anonymously, and selected six schemes to proceed to the second stage of the competition. The authors of these schemes were subsequently invited to work up their designs in more detail. The scheme by Foster and Partners/Sir Anthony Caro/Ove Arup & Partners was announced as the overall winner - the Jury Panel felt their scheme showed a creative collaboration between architecture, art and engineering.

Structurally, the bridge pushes the boundaries of technology. Spanning 320 metres, it is a very shallow suspension bridge. The bridge has a uniquely thin profile, forming a slender arc across the water, and spanning the greatest possible distance with the minimum means. A thick ribbon of steel by day, it is illuminated to form a glowing blade of light at night.

The bridge opened in June 2000 and an astonishing 100,000 people crossed it during the first weekend. However, under this heavy traffic the bridge exhibited greater than expected lateral movement, and as a result it was temporarily closed. Extensive research and testing revealed that this movement was caused by synchronised pedestrian footfall – a phenomenon of which little was previously known in the engineering world. The solution was to fit dampers discreetly beneath the deck to mitigate movement. This proved highly successful and the research undertaken by the engineers has resulted in changes to the codes for bridge building worldwide.


RIBA Award 2003

Institution of Structural Engineers (IStructE) Murray Buxton Award

The British Construction Industry Civil Engineering Award 2003 – Shortlisted 

Visit our YouTube channel to hear more about RIBA Competitions involvement in the process.
Top of page