Winning competition design reveals active transport addition to an Australian icon

ASPECT insights
Winning competition design reveals active transport addition to an Australian icon

A team led by ASPECT Studios has been selected as the winner of a design competition for a major addition to the Sydney Harbour Bridge, with a design that calls for a serpentine cycleway that is light, fluid and transparent.

The culmination of years of careful planning by Transport for NSW, the new accessible cycleway will enable cyclists aged from eight to 80 to transition seamlessly from the bridge’s northern end to Bradfield Park. The ASPECT-led design team comprises design partners Collins and Turner, and Yerrabingin, Design 5 Architects, Eckersley O’Callaghan, JMT Consulting and Electrolight.

Sacha Coles, Director of ASPECT Studios, said the strength of the winning design lies in its appreciation of the existing context.

“It would be hard to overstate the value of the Harbour Bridge to Sydney, New South Wales, and all of Australia. Our design will create a major piece of active transport infrastructure for Sydney, while at the same time retaining, respecting and revealing what is already in place.

“The Country-centred design will give physical form to the stories and movements of the Gadigal and Cammeraygal people.

“We are very excited to be working on a project that embodies the aspirations and aims of Minister Stokes’ portfolios of cities and active transport.”

The curving bridge is minimal in its solution and organic in its geometry. The design team looked to a wide range of sources in the natural and modern worlds to arrive at the winning design, which ties this project to its place.

The cycleway will retain the existing relationship between the Harbour Bridge and Bradfield Park by ensuring that any intrusion on views to the bridge for park visitors and residents is minimised. To retain the legibility of state heritage-listed structures like the Milsons Point Station entrance and the Burton Street arch, the alignment of the cycleway has been designed to match that of the viaduct – leaving the park open and uncluttered. The cycleway touches the ground onto an existing path, minimising the requirement for additional hard surfaces and preserving all existing trees.

This project will solve a number of pressing questions about the flows of active transport in Sydney. The Sydney Harbour Bridge cycleway is the most heavily used in the city, with approximately 2,000 bike trips taken each weekday. Currently, riders must climb 55 steps at the northern end of the bridge and push their bikes through safety barriers at the top for access. At peak times, this obstacle congests movement and creates a safety hazard. At the same time, the cycleway will make active transport an accessible choice for a larger number of people.

ASPECT Studios’ purpose is to reveal the essential qualities of place, the landscape, its history, social rituals and cultural significance through design. In this project, the ASPECT-led team is championing a creative solution that enhances the way people interact with several treasured heritage places – while simultaneously creating an accessible piece of infrastructure that meets the urgent needs of a major city in the 21st Century.

The team will now move on to the concept and detailed design stage of the project, with construction expected to start in 2023.

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