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Kurilpa Bridge , Brisbane, Queensland

A pedestrian and cycle crossing for the Brisbane River.

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.

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.

Pushing the boundaries of engineering and creativity, Kurilpa Bridge combines world-first structural design with a clever lighting scheme that enlivens and enriches the city.

Illuminating Brisbane River

Designed by Arup’s lighting design specialists, the lighting scheme plays on the link between the pedestrian bridge and the Gallery of Modern Art. It creates a feature of the bridge as a permanent work of art, highlighting structural elements with a complimentary glow.

The lighting creates interest for users and passers-by with an arrangement of LED luminaries programmed to produce an array of lighting effects. The scheme can be tailored to cater for events, festivals and sport and is one of the world’s largest bridge LED lighting installations.

The ability of LED to dynamically change colour allowed us to use lighting to reveal both architectural and structural features of the bridge. At dusk it is revealed in white light and later in the evening the dynamic effects are unleashed to display a more playful personality" ” Paul Guger Lead Arup lighting designer

Kurilpa Bridge Brisbane ©Arup/David Sandison Kurilpa Bridge Brisbane ©Arup/David Sandison
Pushing the boundaries of engineering and creativity, Kurilpa Bridge combines world-first structural design with a clever lighting scheme that enlivens and enriches the city.

Solar power for sustainability

Kurilpa is one of the first large-scale solar powered pedestrian bridges in the world, with 84 photovoltaic panels.

The panels supply between 75% and 100% of the power required for lighting, with surplus electricity fed into the grid. In addition to energy savings, the use of LED minimises maintenance and operating costs.