“The Living Bridge – An Droichead Beo” is a unique design by Wilkinson Eyre Architects, London and consists of seven 50-metre spans linked together by piers which create four platforms of refuge for walkers.
The platforms are designed to accommodate social gatherings, informal teaching sessions, music and dance performances, as well as a wide array of educational, social and cultural activities – all contributing to this facility’s status as a “living” bridge”.
The bridge alternates between rhythms of bridge and island, with lightweight bridge structures joining to more solid pier locations. This is reflected by the change in construction materials from steel to concrete and the transition from open parapets to solid pillars and glazed side walls which serve to shelter the “inhabitants” of this animated facility.
The architects designed the bridge to move in a beautiful flowing line across the Shannon, mirroring the river. The design conveys the sense of a series of bridges leaping from pier to pier, each supported by one of the existing islands in the riverbed. This gives the traveller the sense that they are crossing the river on stepping stones.
From the south campus, access to the bridge is through what presents itself as a hidden gateway in the Millstream Courtyard and provides a vital link between the Glucksman Library, Concert Hall and Millstream developments to the Health Sciences and the new Irish World Academy of Music and Dance on the north bank. An impressive Plaza will welcome you to Clare once you have travelled over the bridge.
The Pedestrian Living Bridge project was resourced through a partnership of private and public funding and was assigned to Arup Consulting Engineers in Dublin. Kerin Contract Management in Limerick managed the project while building work was undertaken by Eiffel Construction, France’s largest bridge builder.