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    Movable footbridge fans out over Grand Union Canal in Paddington, London

    British firm Knight Architects and structural engineers AKT II have completed a kinetic footbridge in Paddington’s Merchant Square that opens and closes like a traditional Japanese fan.

    Five steel beams make up the bridge’s structure, cantilevering over the 20-metre wide Grand Union Canal.

    Hydraulic jacks enable the beams to rise and fall in a staggered sequence, creating a fan-like effect that allows boats to pass along the canal when it is open and pedestrians to cross the waterway when it is closed.

    The heavy beams are balanced by a 40-ton counterweight that stabilizes the hydraulic mechanism and reduces the energy needed to move the structure.

    Handrails made from inclined stainless steel rods run along either side of the three-metre wide deck and feature a built-in strip of LED lighting to illuminate the crossing at night.

    The bridge is part of a wider regeneration of the Merchant Square area, a project that includes the construction of gardens, event spaces and six new buildings around the waterside plaza.

    Merchant Square footbridge by Knight Architects

    Courtesy Dezeen

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