Speirs + Major’s lighting design for the Twin Sails Bridge earned an AL Light and Architecture Design Award for its clever use of red LED lighting lining the metal-grated pedestrian walkway, which signals it is unsafe to cross, and metal halide sources uplighting the bridge’s underside.

The entire design combines unique engineering and nautically responsive lighting features, helping the Twin Sails Bridge deliver on a mandate that the bridge be both functional and iconic for the city of Poole, on the south shores of England in Great Britain, and the greater harbor area.

Designed by Wilkinson Eyre Architects, the 456-foot-long drawbridge, cut on a bias, spans an elbow-shaped strait and connects Poole to the town of Hamworthy. Read our definitions of the bridge below.

Twin Sails Bridge, Poole_Dave Morris_6

When the bridge is up, the walkway is flooded with red light to signal to pedestrians it is unsafe to cross. Photo: Dave Morris, courtesy of Speirs + Major

bascule (noun) ‘bas-(,)kyül
An apparatus or structure in which one end is counterbalanced by the other on the principle of the seesaw or by weights. The Twin Sails Bridge is a double-leaved bascule bridge, and because it is cut on a bias, it gets its name from the intentional sail-like appearance of the 114-foot-tall leaves in their ‘open’ positions, when they are lifted to 88 degrees with hydraulic rams.

development (noun) di-‘ve-ləp-mənt
The act or process of growing or progressing. In addition to lessening the vehicular load on the adjacent Poole Bridge, the newly opened Twin Sails Bridge will help the development of four ‘regeneration’ sites—two in Hamworthy and two in Poole—including a power station site that was decommissioned in 1998. 

dynamic (adj) dī-‘na-mik)
Marked by usually continuous and productive activity or change. When the bridge goes up, the light design responds in a dynamic way by enacting an undulating sequence transforming the pedestrian walkway from white to red and lighting the masts at the ends of the frosted acrylic-tipped sails with internal white LED lights.