Willis architect in race to design new Orwell crossing

The Wet Dock Island Site with the site for the proposed new link at the top of the picture, just abo

The Wet Dock Island Site with the site for the proposed new link at the top of the picture, just above the lock gates - Credit: Archant

A team led by the world-famous architect who designed the Willis building in the mid-1970s is one of five groups bidding to design the new Orwell crossings near the centre of Ipswich.

Meanwhile survey work has started into possible routes for the new crossings.

Norman Foster was an aspiring young architect with a growing reputation when he designed the iconic Willis building that opened in 1975.

He went on to develop a worldwide reputation designing such landmarks as the new Wembley stadium, City Hall in London, and the Reichstag rebuilding in Berlin.

In this region he also designed The Sainsbury Centre at UEA in Norwich, the American aircraft museum at Duxford, and the terminal building at Stansted Airport.

Now Foster and Partners have been shortlisted to design the new crossing between Cliff Quay and the West Bank of the Orwell – but faces stiff competition from other international architects’ practices.

They were chosen by an evaluation panel set up by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) which included representative from the county council and the engineers who have been managing the project. The winning team is expected to be announced early next year.

Most Read

The Pre-Qualification phase attracted a high quality range of submissions from practices of varying size.

The five short-listed teams (in alphabetical order of design firm lead) are:

• Adamson Associates (Toronto) with William Matthews Associates and Ney & Partners

• Foster and Partners (London)

• Knight Architects (High Wycombe)

• Marc Mimram (Paris)

•Wilkinson Eyre (London) with FHECOR and EADON Consulting

Guy McGregor is the councillor responsible for the project. He said: “We have received some excellent interest in the project from architectural teams that have delivered major bridge projects both in the UK and internationally.

“I look forward to assessing the tender concepts in December.”

Ipswich MP Ben Gummer said: “I am very excited by the strong list of short-listed architectural teams.

“In this shortlist we have the wealth of talent, experience, variety and quality we need to design the beautiful bridges our town deserves. I am looking forward to seeing their ideas.”

Meanwhile work has started looking for potential routes for the two new bridges that will be built – a road bridge from the West Bank to the island site and the larger swing bridge to be built to the east of the Wet Dock lock gates.

Yesterday survey work started at the Hawes Street/Vernon Street roundabout and that is due to continue today and tomorrow.

There will be further survey works looking at possible routes for the larger bridge during the autumn.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter