Grimshaw’s Seafarers Bridge is located adjacent to the Yarra’s edge development on the north bank and the heritage sheds on the south bank of Melbourne’s Yarra River. The function of the bridge is to connect the north and south banks of the river while providing a formal entrance to the new Melbourne Convention Centre. This siting allows the bridge to behave as a ‘street’ to naturally connect two previously underutilised public spaces as well as generally connecting the Docklands back to Southbank.
The bridge’s design grew from a desire to create a processional crescendo towards the Plenary Hall of the Convention Centre. By clustering two groups of compression arches, three small arches to the north and four arches to the south, and tying these together and hauling them back to the ground, the structure that supports the bridge works to define and enclose the space for the pedestrian.
The bridge was named ‘Seafarers Bridge’ in homage to the historic Mission to Seafarers building located near to the bridge on the northern bank of the Yarra River.