A Bridge to the Future

Paul Bulkeley

Provocative architect and Lecturer in Urban Deign at the University of Southampton, Paul Bulkeley shares with Southampton Magazine his bold concept to make the Itchen Bridge an iconic destination. 

For many years there has been talk in Southampton about the need for an iconic statement building that will help to boost the image of the city.

Now Hampshire based architect Paul Bulkeley believes there is an opportunity to transform an existing sold structure that has been a feature of the local landscape for many years.

"The Itchen Bridge presents a major opportunity for Southampton.  It could be re-branded and given a more powerful use.

"With developments on the Itchen River starting to happen, the bridge has an even more important role to play linking the east of the city to the city centre - and turning it into a destination in its own right," explained Paul, who runs Snug Architects, his practice in Winchester.

By projecting platforms off either side of the bridge, Paul believes Southampton could have its own iconic bridge complete with a restaurant, info box, a sky beach and public space akin to the deck of a cruise liner.

"The top of the bridge provides one of the best, if not the best view of the city.

"In principle there would be areas of decking that would cantilever off the sides of the bridge at the location of the main piers.

"On the southern side a restaurant with panoramic views of the sun setting over Southampton Water would create a destination restaurant and put the city on the culinary map."

At this stage his drawings and ideas are designed to provoke discussions and Kay Brown, Planning Policy, Conservation and Design Team Leader, is happy to join the conversation.

"Worldwide many cities have built their most iconic developments around the waterfront; Sydney, Copenhagen and Hamburg are great examples. Paul's ideas will stimulate debate about how we could do more to celebrate our unique waterfront location," she said.

And Paul argues that with the right backing, the Itchen Bridge could effectively become an international landmark.

"If a source of funding could be found or a sponsor, this could be a really exciting way of giving the city a recognisable structure of national or international significance."

Read the Southampton Magazine