To mark the 120th birthday of Tower Bridge, The City of London Corporation commissioned a new glass floor for its two high-level walkways to provide a unique view of the bridge lift and enhance the visitor experience.

As one of London’s most iconic landmarks, there was a great deal of sensitivity required in the design approach and consultation. Planning permission and Listed Building Consent had to be obtained from two London boroughs, Tower Hamlets and Southwark, as the bridge straddles the two borough boundaries.

Project stages

The walkways are situated 42m above the Thames and various stages of work required road and river closures. The project required a great deal of sensitivity in order to create spaces within the structure for the glass panels to sit.

The original steel lattice structure of the bridge has been conserved under glass panels weighing 530kg each. There are two glass floors comprised of six panels, 11.5m long and 1.8m wide, supported by a 1000kg carbon steel framework.

Purcell has an in-depth understanding of the bridge’s significance, having completed the conservation management plan and undertaken a site survey. This informed the design and subsequent planning applications to create the glazed walkways.

Six glass floor panels were carefully inserted into the existing structure in the centre of each walkway, giving visitors the opportunity to view the bridge and the lifting process from a brand new perspective.

The glass floor panels have created a light-filled space with information on the bridge for visitors to enjoy, providing an exciting addition to the Grade I Listed structure.