Bridge 150

The Architecture Centre’s 150 day festival celebrating the creativity and ingenuity of bridge engineering in the lead up to the 150th anniversary of the opening of the Clifton Suspension Bridge.

2014 marked the 150th anniversary of Bristol’s world-famous Clifton Suspension Bridge – one of Brunel’s greatest engineering achievements.

Inspired by this anniversary, Bridge 150 presented 150 days of exciting activities to inspire, inform and involve everyone in the art and science of engineering.

Highlights of the programme included:

  • Desire Lines: A major exhibition at the Architecture Centre
  • Programme of bridge-related walks, talks, debates and ferry tours
  • Design Challenge Day to encourage girls into engineering careers
  • Family activities and resources
  • Schools resources


Desire Lines: Romance and Rationalism in Bridge Design

The Bridge 150 title exhibition, Desire Lines, revealed the stories behind some of today’s most innovative bridges. The exhibition was so popular that it went on tour; to Bath (Royal Literary & Scientific Institution), Frome (Rook Lane Arts) and the Clifton Suspension Bridge Visitor Centre where it was seen by over 16,000 people!

The bridge making activity from the exhibition has moved to a permanent home in the Clifton Suspension Bridge Visitor Centre where it can be enjoyed year round.

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Programme of Events

Lecture: Bridging Disciplines

Leading engineer Alan Baxter and architects Martin Knight and Renato Benedetti discussed their collaborative approach to bridge design.

Great Debate: Who Owns Bridge Design? Engineers Vs Architects

Architects have been increasingly involved in bridge design, but where has this left the engineer? Jim Eyre, Julia Elton, Hugh Pearman and Ian Firth engaged in a lively debate to find out how engineers and architects feel about their changing roles and the effect it has on bridge design.

Listen to the debate here

Bristol Bridges series of Urban Wanderings

  • The Floating Harbour
  • The Avon New Cut
  • Brunel’s Bristol

Family Activities

Bridge 150 Fact Files

Developed as part of our festival, the Bridge 150 fact files are a resource pack containing Top Trumps® style cards for over 80 bridges from across the world. Download your own pack here.

Shape My City

Engineers taking part in Bridge 150 participated in the career development programme Shape My City, through an evening workshop session with 15 young participants.

Family storytelling and creative bridge building activities

Iggy Peck, architect (aged 6) introduced children to the delights of bridge constructions as part of our Bridge150 festival. 

The Big Family Arts Picnic

Exciting Family Arts Festival activities with the Architecture Centre, Arnolfini and Bristol Children’s Scrapstore,  including futuristic bridge construction.

Bridge150 is supported by the Royal Academy of Engineering’s Ingenious Fund  with additional support from the Institution of Structural Engineers Educational Trust, ICE SW.