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Renfrew Bridge designer shares his shipbuilding inspiration

July 10 2024

Renfrew Bridge designer shares his shipbuilding inspiration

The lead designer behind the first opening road bridge spanning the River Clyde has shared the shipbuilding inspirations behind the project.

Kettle Collective cofounder Tony Kettle swapped far-flung commissions in Reykjavic and Russia for something closer to home in Renfrew, a £117m movable bridge led by Renfrewshire Council.

Inspecting progress in joining the north and south sections together during a site visit Kettle said: “Shipbuilding on the Clyde inspired our design. The visual history of cranes juxtaposed against each other and the way the dry docks are cut into the banks at an angle. The challenge was to capture that spirit of movement in the angles of the new bridge structure, and to accentuate the fact this is a moving structure, not just another static bridge.

“The Renfrew Bridge is both a physical and symbolic connection, a celebration of the coming together of two communities that will undoubtedly benefit from having closer ties. It will create a gateway and a destination that should bring more people together to enjoy the riverbank and celebrate the history and rich cultural heritage that they share.

“It was a rare opportunity to celebrate all that is special about this place, to remind people of the rich industrial heritage, of the globally recognised engineering and construction expertise that occurred on both banks of the Clyde. What better way to celebrate it than with a new innovative moving structure.”

The key infrastructure link will improve connectivity between Yoker and Clydebank and Renfrew and Glasgow Airport to the south, uniting communities on both banks of the river.

Kettle added: "It’s a fantastic project that will change the landscape of the river for the better, offer fresh, improved transport connections, and create a visual landmark that generations to come can be proud of - I know I certainly will be."

At 183m the distinctive 'twin leaf' design will be one of the longest-span cable-stayed opening bridges in the world when completed this autumn by civil engineers Graham. 

Kettle inspects the bridge ahead of its autumn opening
Kettle inspects the bridge ahead of its autumn opening
The bridge will close twice every 24 hours to permit ships to pass at high tide
The bridge will close twice every 24 hours to permit ships to pass at high tide


#1 Posted by Roddy_ on 10 Jul 2024 at 12:52 PM
Bit of a shame this.
Looks a lot chunkier than the original visualisations. The tops of the 'masts' really should have come to a point - or something approaching a point. The connections of the cable stays to the deck are not very well considered and visually jarring. Both this and the Govan/Yorkhill really not very good examples of elegant and sleek engineering. Alas.
Fat Bloke on Tour
#2 Posted by Fat Bloke on Tour on 10 Jul 2024 at 13:24 PM
Designer as in stylist -- is that where we need to be?
Industrial heritage angle -- well that is all we have got when you import the bridge from abroad.
Not good.
#3 Posted by Athenian on 10 Jul 2024 at 13:51 PM
#1 - looks like there are dowels extending from the masts - hopefully this means there are some pointy bits to be added along the way.
Showbiz Sam
#4 Posted by Showbiz Sam on 10 Jul 2024 at 14:21 PM
Two apposite epitaphs there guys.
bit of a shame really / not good.
#5 Posted by Roddy_ on 10 Jul 2024 at 18:11 PM
Alas no - those look like lightning rods. Google the original visuals - the masts are meant to be truncated.

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