Kurilpa Bridge

  • Pedestrian bridge based on principles of tensegrity – a balance between compressive and tensile members.
  • Multi-mast, cable-stay structure.
  • 470m long with a 120m main span.

The AU$63m Kurilpa Bridge provides a pedestrian and cycle crossing over the Brisbane River. 

The bold design is the result of a two-year creative partnership between Cox Rayner, Baulderstone and Arup – a leader in the advanced geometry required for tensegrity-inspired structures.

Arup was responsible for engineering design including structural engineering, civil engineering, traffic, geotechnics, electrical engineeringlighting design and hydraulics.

Tensegrity-inspired design

Sculptural in appearance, the bridge is a multi-mast, cable-stay structure based on principles of tensegrity, a first in city bridge construction.

“The structural design achieves the unusual appearance of a seemingly random array of tensegrity elements”

– Ian Ainsworth, Arup project director

While the geometry of the bridge is informal, the cables (in tension) and tubes (in compression) are arranged with a structural rhythm. This provides the strength and resilience required for a structure that carries thousands of pedestrians and cyclists.

The bridge features two large viewing and relaxation platforms, two rest areas and a continuous all-weather canopy. The northern side soars over an expressway while the southern side floats across the river bank, spiralling before landing at the new Gallery of Modern Art.

Kurilpa Bridge is owned by the Queensland State Government with project delivery managed by the Department of Public Works.

The bridge was completed in September and opened to pedestrians in October 2009.

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  • Kurilpa Bridge at night. Credit Cox Rayner Architects.Open gallery

    Complex geometric analysis was used to design the seemingly random structure.

  • Computer visualisation of Kurilpa Bridge. Credit Cox Rayner Architects.Open gallery

    On the north side, the bridge links pedestrians to parklands and Brisbane’s justice precinct.