- John Wardle Architects and NADAAA in collaboration
- Buro North
Tanderrum Bridge can be understood in a number of ways; as a gateway to the city, a part of the Birrarung Marr landscape, an urban catalyst between Melbourne & Olympic Park and the city – fundamentally it is an expression of a civic journey and experience.
Through its form and place-making, Tanderrum Bridge synthesizes disparate spaces by integration, connectivity and amalgamation. It is a project that is place and site specific. In this way, Tanderrum Bridge takes on a unique identity of its own but also remains an integral part of a larger civic entity.
Reinforcing local identity
The bridge makes an important association between the Heritage landscape of Speakers’ Corner and the outside tennis courts of Melbourne Park.
These existing spaces are steeped in egalitarian and democratic values – one with a history of regular citizens speaking freely on any subject; the other where a player of any ranking can pick up a tennis racquet in one of the sport’s great precincts.
The bridge links these two experiences of egalitarianism within the city. The spaces are transformed into a dress circle where the pedestrian can look down a hillside toward the activity below.
As a purpose-built structure, the bridge allows the Australian Open to permeate the civic realm of Birrarung Marr and inversely allow the public to easily access Melbourne and Olympic Parks throughout the year.
The two urban realms, disconnected by Batman Avenue are now united by the Tanderrum Bridge.
While connectively part of the event spaces it joins, the bridge has also become a destination and sculptural component within the landscape. Further, the bridge connects physically and visually, previously discreet or underutilised spaces, Middle and Lower Terrace, Margaret Court, outside tennis courts and the Yarra River.
Tanderrum Bridge is a project imbedded within the landscape, its two thresholds are different in character, both intended as vivid demonstrations of uniquely Melbourne landscape types.
To the west, it nestles into the existing berm of Birrarung Marr and deflects opening up a new view of the stand of Eucalyptus Camaldulensis and Speakers’ Corner – an expression of a contemporary park adjacent to an historic one.
To the east, the landing folds into Olympic Park as a generous lawn embankment with shade provided by the high-canopied Corymbia Citriodora – a demonstration of a democratic and occupiable space to meet and watch.
Bridges by their very nature span and interface varied interests, circumstances which range from the intangible precision of volumetric lease and heritage titles to physical assets and artefacts known and occasionally unknown. In this way, Tanderrum Bridge was unparalleled in complexity.
MPV navigated the interests of a large group of primary stakeholders, authorities and minor advocacy groups without turbulence. It was this astute understanding of the stakeholder matrix which ensured the project’s seamless progression from masterplan, design competition to a built and functioning project.
The bridge design is slender and elegant, a flat steel girder structure that tapers at its edges to achieve the required span across Batman Avenue. While connectively part of the event spaces it joins, the bridge has also become a destination and sculptural component within the landscape.
The lightweight filigree character of the steel veil wrapping the bridge balustrade and underbelly provides the framework for a journey which branches into a connective path to Middle Terrace and provides views through toward the Yarra River, Birrarung Marr and the city.