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Steel truss bridge opens at King’s Cross

A new bridge has officially opened to the public at King’s Cross.

The 25m Esperance Bridge – commissioned by King’s Cross, designed by Moxon Architects and Arup and fabricated by SH Structures – spans Regent’s Canal and links Pancras Square with Coal Drops Yard.

It takes its form and bold colour from the lost railway bridges of Regent’s Canal.

In keeping with the Victorian heritage of the area, Moxon worked alongside Arup to keep the bridge as simple as possible, focusing attention on craftsmanship and high-quality materials.

The prominent structure has been made primarily of painted carbon steel with a simple yet expressive truss form. Its bold red colour highlights its form while complementing the patination and colouration of the neighbouring cityscape.

It is also fitted with integrated lighting designed by Studio-29, which aims to create a visually exciting and safe route for the public to cross with ease between Granary Square and King’s Cross. The lighting scheme celebrates the form and structure of the bridge by discreetly integrating lighting and ensuring a sensitive design which has minimal impact on the surrounding canal and wildlife.

The bridge’s name – Esperance – has been chosen by local children from King’s Cross Academy, a school situated on King’s Cross Estate. Meaning ‘hope’ in French, the children chose Esperance as a symbol of positivity following a year of hardship for many.

King’s Cross chief executive Robert Evans described the opening as a “special moment” for the area.

“It represents one of the final pieces of the public realm jigsaw, drawing upon the area’s unique industrial heritage,” he said.

“This will provide residents, workers, students, and visitors with direct access from Pancras Square and the stations into Granary Square and Coal Drops Yard at the heart of King’s Cross.”

Arup associate Martin Hooton said the firm is “proud” to have worked on the project.

“The highly crafted steel truss bridge creates an active travel corridor over this popular section of the Regent’s Canal for pedestrians,” he said. “The design expresses the functionality of the structural behaviour of a truss bridge but contrasts this with the slenderness of the stainless-steel diagonal elements.”

Moxon managing director Ben Addy added: “Inspired by the area’s industrial heritage the bridge’s articulation is expressive and sculptural, innovative and delightful and it’s been an absolute joy to see our second bridge for King’s Cross realised.

“The focus on public realm at King’s Cross draws visitors to the spaces between buildings and we’re pleased we’ve been able to work alongside such a great team to make this happen. The new bridge will create a clear connection over the Regent’s Canal, further demonstrating a commitment to quality and design”.

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Department of Civil Engineering