Rolling Bridge in London

Rolling Bridge

Rolling Bridge, located on the Paddington Basin in London, was created by Thomas Heatherwick. It is 12 meters long and opens every Friday at noon.

Rather than a conventional opening bridge mechanism, consisting of a single rigid element that lifts to let boats pass, the Rolling Bridge gets out of the way by curling up until its two ends touch.

Incredible Rolling Bridge in London

Incredible Rolling Bridge in London 2

Incredible Rolling Bridge in London 3

Incredible Rolling Bridge in London 4

Incredible Rolling Bridge in London 5

Incredible Rolling Bridge in London 6

The Rolling Bridge VIdeo

Also check out: Trampoline Bridge and LEGO Bridge

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  1. michael

    Incredible, but too slow!

  2. James

    Can’t wait to see who will be the first person to get stuck in this bridge.

  3. Jon

    I like how if you stand still at the front it will form an inescapable cage around you :)

  4. garnettxd

    the buffering youtube makes the bridge even slower

  5. bridge-enthusiast

    fun fun fun fun

  6. Joe

    Too slow… and small.

    I am curious how it’s powered…

  7. Andrew

    joe: hydraulics, you can see the pistons clearly in the pictures. All they need to do is extend to close and extract to open. As per most pistons, I’d assume there’s some pumping going on.

  8. Miles

    “I am curious how it’s powered…”

    I’d say the hydraulic cylinders clearly visible in all the above shots are a fair giveaway :p

    That’s the biggest problem I see with this design, it’d be exceedingly difficult to scale it up to a road-sized bridge

  9. Television Spy

    I like how you think, was thinking exactly that myself.

    Sure it’s a pretty slow and tiring way to trap someone, but once done it’d be hilarious.

  10. LA Bear

    Dude, I could have walked around it already.

  11. alex

    it looks like the sidewalk is getting a boner

  12. artist

    Im pretty sure it’s one of those art “form over function” deals, they have no intention of using it practically.

  13. greg

    i want to launch off it

  14. Anonymous

    Greg: I had the same idea. I wonder who the first will be to jump their bike off this?

    You could just wait a little longer in the process to get a better incline.

    I also wonder how well those hydraulics and the bridge itself would hold people while retracting? :|

  15. Steve

    It’s awesome and shows how we still have the best engineers in the world…but 2 minutes to close?!

  16. Justin White

    Wow, that is absolutely amazing. very cool indeed.

  17. Don

    Seems it would be more power efficient if it started “rolling” at the far end and rolled toward the anchor point. Raising the whole thing like they do is the most inefficient way. Makes you think the entire hydraulic system is actuated all at once instead of each piece of the bridge being allowed to actuate independently. Less valves to worry about I suppose.

  18. Paul

    The bridge does go faster, but they slowed it down because it freaked people out

  19. F. Yang

    This is way cool!


    LOL great idea, wish i thought of it. For a sec. i thought it would be cooler if it raising served some purpose or was useful in someway but then i snapped out of it. I LOVE POINTLESS CRAP. this would seem to be about as pointless as it gets

  21. Skull0Inc

    Well, it is not entirely pointless, as it makes and bridges a gap between two points, kind of like a draw bridge would but in a mordern setting. It also gives us a reconstructed(every time it is opened and closed) definition of what a bridge’s function is visually in real time.

  22. GarettM

    The point of the bridge rolling up is to move it out of the way so boats can pass through the canal which is being bridged. At least I’d assume that canal carries on. Note the small boats/barges in the background.

  23. Patrick Hogan

    The Bridge cost $500,000 and this Summer it was removed because it stopped working due to possible vandalism.
    They are not sure it will ever be put back.

    regards Patrick.

  24. Brett

    “Seems it would be more power efficient if it started “rolling” at the far end and rolled toward the anchor point. Raising the whole thing like they do is the most inefficient way. Makes you think the entire hydraulic system is actuated all at once instead of each piece of the bridge being allowed to actuate independently. Less valves to worry about I suppose.”

    I think “rolling” each section one at a time would make it slower but how exactly would that make it more efficient? Wouldn’t each Hydraulic component carry the same weight no matter when it operates?

  25. Kaja

    This is not a bridge, it’s a tourist atrraction and guess what, I like it!

  26. Vovan


  27. Ran

    @Brett: I think Don is right. The greater the horizontal distance between a given piston, and the center of gravity of the segments after that piston, the greater the moment induced by the weight of those segments (M = F*d), and the greater the force the piston will have to exert in order to counteract that moment. (Think of the bridge as a lever with a fulcrum at one end and a weight somewhere along its length. The closer the weight is to the fulcrum, the easier it is to lift; and the closer you are to the fulcrum, the harder it is for you to lift.)

    However, I don’t think there’s any way to make this bridge as efficient as a simple sliding-back-onto-the-sidewalk scheme, so they probably went with the way that they thought looked coolest. I think they made the right choice. :-)

  28. Krazd

    wow, awesome design! I wonder how much weight this bridge can hold

  29. Krazd

    reminds me of an isopod (rolly polies)

  30. Patrick Hogan

    “With the end bay securely fixed to one side of the dock, the remaining seven bays powered by hydraulic rams, push the handrails upwards lifting the bridge and then roll it back to form an enclosed ball. The result is a delicate balance of art, machine and structure.
    Designed to open in 180 seconds, the innovative concept was realised by the close cooperation and skills of the design team. Extensively modelled in CAD and exported to Robot analysis software, our team used bridge models for the static analysis, as well as confirmation of the geometry. In addition, using animation tools, a virtual working model was generated to confirm the motion and allow component measurements in any configuration.”

  31. Daniel, The Hosting Blog

    Looks like a tongue lol. It is a good idea for some future inventions. It would be practical if you could roll that up to like half its size and have it expand a lot faster. Rollup bridgers


    verey good

  33. DJ lazy boy


  34. 여인주

    Hi. I’m korean. Rolling Bridge is beautiful. Mechatronics will make it smaller.

  35. Keala

    Fantastic design, would it be possible to design a bridge to carry 70 tons of vehicle 120 ft with a roll out time of 3 minutes?

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