New 'symbol of hope' bridge opens at London's King's Cross

The strikingly red new Esperance Bridge, which links two key parts of King’s Cross.

Esperance Bridge, designed by Moxon Architects and Arup, has officially opened to the public at King’s Cross. The bridge spans Regent’s Canal and links Pancras Square with the shopping and food hotspot Coal Drops Yard.

The 25-metre bridge, commissioned by King’s Cross and designed by Moxon Architects and Arup, and fabricated by SH Structures – the team behind the nearby Somers Town Bridge, takes its form and bold colour from the lost railway bridges of Regent’s Canal. With a nod to its predecessor, which stood in the same position along the canal from 1821 and was used to transport coal to the goods yard, Esperance Bridge mirrors the original structure.

In keeping with the Victorian heritage of the area, Moxon worked alongside engineering and consultancy firm 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. The bridge was made by specialist steelwork fabricator, SH Structures and the bridge’s bold red colour highlights its form while complementing the patination and colouration of the neighbouring cityscape.

Esperance Bridge links two key parts of King’s Cross, enhancing accessibility to and from Coal Drops Yard as well as the estate’s wider culture, retail and hospitality offering. The bridge is 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 Kings 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, was 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.

Robert Evans, CEO of King’s Cross comments: “This is a special moment for King’s Cross. It represents one of the final pieces of the public realm jigsaw, drawing upon the area’s unique industrial heritage. 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. We are delighted with the name chosen by the King’s Cross Academy, a bit of hope for us all after a challenging year is what we need.”

Moxon managing director Ben Addy said: “Inspired by the area's industrial heritage the bridge's articulation is expressive and sculptural, innovative and delightful. 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.”

Arup associate Martin Hooton added: “The highly crafted steel truss bridge creates an active travel corridor over this popular section of the Regent’s Canal for pedestrians. 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.”

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