The Steam Bridge, University of Birmingham, UK

MJP Architects
Date Built
Edgbaston Campus
MJP Architects say of this service tunnel on the University of Birmingham's Campus that, "... People arriving at the University get off the train and they stop, look over and say ‘wow what’s that?’ – To get people to go ‘wow’ for a services project is a really great thing."  In fact, this structure connects two parts of the campus that are separated by a canal and a railway.  A road bridge carries pedestrians and vehicles over the same gap but this tunnel connects the combined heat and power plant (CHP) in the main campus with the campus on the Queen Elizabeth Hospital side.   The new CHP supply  decreases the University’s carbon footprint by approximately 1500 tonnes per year.

What adds the WOW factor is the stainless steel skin of the bridge.  Small perforations create a pattern of wavy lines on the bridge’s exterior, while the steel surface has a brushed finish that reduces glare for train drivers below.  MJP say they have, "... designed the curved 2k finished, laser cut, Grade 316 stainless cladding for a very long service life with zero cleaning and maintenance. The 60 metre superstructure was pre-clad off-site by Sorba Projects BV, transported to site in two spans, and installed during an overnight line closure."

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