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Sunderland go for Bilbao factor. Minus Gehry

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October 25 2005

Spence Associates, together with engineers Techniker Ltd, have won the competition to design a new vehicular and pedestrian crossing of the River Wear at Sunderland. Spence Associates have won several high profile design competitions, most notably for the Stockton-on-Tees Pedestrian Footbridge and the Turner Contemporary, Margate.

The competition brief called for an iconic structure. It is hoped that the £43 million bridge, which will form part of the wider Sunderland Strategic Transport Corridor (SSTC) initiative, will act as an important gateway to the city centre. “The jury recognised that the Spence/Techniker design is a structurally challenging, complex scheme to deliver, but felt that its resolution would contribute significantly to the long-term future of the city. Sunderland City Council and Sunderland Arc are looking forward to working with the team’s designers to develop their challenging concept proposal,” said a spokes person for the RIBA who organised the competition with the Institute of Civil Engineers.

The Sunderland competition attracted expressions of interest from thirty-five consortia from the UK, Europe, Israel, Scandinavia and the United States. The competition produced an impressive short list that included Schlaich Bergermann und Partner, Gehry Partners LLP and WS Atkins Consultants Ltd. The other shortlisted contenders were Gifford & Partners Ltd with Wilkinson Eyre Architects, Halcrow Group Ltd with Dissing+Weitling Arkitektfirma and Flint & Neill Partnership, Hyder Consulting (UK) Ltd and Yee Associates and finally Marks Barfield Architects, Jacobs Babtie, Leonhardt Andrae und Partner.

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