Bridge to the Future - Transforming the Itchen Bridge

Itchen Bridge transformation snug architects

We are delighted that our vision for the transformation of the Itchen Bridge has been featured this year's copy of The Southampton Magazine. The magazine highlights the first class research and development which is taking place in Southampton, referring to the city’s heritage and how future innovations will have a global impact. Previous editions of the magazine have focussed on the Marine, Environmental and Retail and Leisure Sectors. Edition 5 of the Southampton Magazine has the theme of “Innovation”.

One of the key features of edition 5 will be on the Master Plan that is currently being prepared for Itchen Riverside. Snug Architects director, Paul Bulkeley, was interviewed for a feature in the magazine that focuses on our vision for the transformation of the Itchen Bridge. We see this project as a catalyst for the river fronts wider regeneration.

Bridges often form a central ingredient in our perceptions of great waterfront cities, think Sydney Harbour Bridge or even the 'winking eye' in Newcastle/Gateshead. Despite being one of the most prominent structures in the city, the Itchen Bridge is far from having icon status. It does however have potential.

Our vision is for the existing structure to be transformed through the addition of a series of lightweight structures that re-position the bridge in peoples consciousness and with it, our perceptions of the city. The project includes three key elements. Foremost is the 'sky beach'. Expanses of undulating decking cantilever from the sides of the concrete structure, transforming its appearance and creating a public space at the heart of the city. It is intended to be a space akin to the deck of a cruise liner. Our vision is for a meeting place at the logical junction between the two halves of the city. Elevated high above the river, it will offer the public a place to sunbathe and enjoy the panoramic views over the city and its changing waterfront.

Itchen Bridge sky beach snug architects

Suspended below the deck of the bridge we are proposing a world class restaurant and 'info box'. This is a space to do business and exhibit. Similar spaces were created at the outset of both Berlin and Cardiff Bay's transformation.

Itchen bridge restaurant snug architects

This work forms a continuation of our previous thinking and provocation on the Itchen River's wider potential and we are pleased to see that work is now progressing in earnest on a masterplan for the Itchen Riverside. We are also interested in hearing from any visionaries with the means to see this project realised. A digital copy of the magazine can be viewed at