The Blade Gate

In 2017 Pilbrow & Partners was invited to develop ideas for a new bridge in east London to improve connectivity and strengthen local economies.



East London

Gross Floor Area


The Blade Gate provides a distinctive, elegant and logical response to the challenge of spanning the lower Thames. It will connect existing communities in Wapping and Rotherhithe and promote a wider arc of regeneration between Aldgate and Canada Water.

A bridge across the lower reaches of the river must accommodate tall ships. The Blade Gate has a central lifting deck that is continuously supported by masts at either end.

Counterweights within these towers allow the deck to be rapidly lifted with minimal energy use. The masts provide markers on the lines of approach to the bridge and support lighting for the deck at night.

The bridge structure is an optimized steel monocoque structural steel tube which spans 60m between the masts. The variable profile of the deck sections reflects the bending moments acting along the span. The counterweights are glass elements that are exposed within the steel structure of the masts. They drop when the bridge is opened to close the pedestrian route whilst the deck is elevated.