Merchant Square Footbridge forms elegant backdrop to new floating Pocket Park

Knight Architects’ award-winning Merchant Square Footbridge is a striking feature within the new 730 sq m floating 'pocket park' in Paddington Basin on the Grand Union Canal, providing green public space on the water and canal boat mooring. 

New photographs show the opening and closing of the five slender ‘fingers’ of the bridge against the floating gardens which recently opened to the public and will form the destination for a programme of community events throughout the summer.

The creation of the new floating park, by European Land and Property Limited with garden designer Tony Woods, complements the existing urban design and strengthens the public realm, providing innovative ways for the local community to connect through the use of outdoor space. The footbridge, designed by Knight Architects with AKT II and Eadon Consulting, and contractors Mace and SH Structures, continues to delight locals and visitors alike, who can be seen capturing the structure in action on cameras and smartphones, and sharing the results with the wider world on social media.

The design concept is both simple and spectacular: a 3m wide cantilevering deck is hinged at its north end and is raised using hydraulic jacks with an action similar to that of a traditional Japanese hand fan. In motion, it is an eye-catching kinetic sculpture whose silhouette is both legible and exciting and which is well suited to the position on Sunset Terrace.

Together, the floating park and footbridge form part of a programme to create a sustainable and connected community at Merchant Square and to link well-considered public spaces with beautiful urban design.

The park forms part of the Greater London Authority’s ‘green infrastructure’ – an ongoing initiative to improve and connect streets, squares, parks, and canal and riverside spaces across London.

Photo credits: Edmund Sumner