The new bridge over the Liffey River is a key element in Dublin Corporation's Historic Area Renewal Project (HARP), intended to improve the flow of pedestrian and vehicular traffic and to encourage urban regeneration in the city's northwest quadrant. Commissioned by Dublin Corporation, the James Joyce Bridge is one of the two bridges designed by Calatrava, the other being the Samuel Beckett Bridge (formerly Macken Street Bridge), scheduled to be completed in 2010. The James Joyce Bridge links Ellis Quay on the north side of the Liffey River with Ushers Island on the south side.
On the latter portion of this historically and artistically significant site stands Number 15 Ushers Island, the house chosen by James Joyce as the setting for his story 'The Dead'. On the north side stand the Blackhall Place Law Society buildings (formerly King's Hospital and Blue Coat School), designed in 1773 by Sir Thomas Ivory. The deck structure is suspended by high tensile steel hangers from a pair of 6.5-meter-high (21 feet) tilted arches, which are inclined outward. Four traffic lanes run across the 42 meters (138 feet) span. The balustrades on either side of the bridge curved outward towards the river, producing pedestrian walkways that vary in width from three meters (9.8 feet) at the quays up to seven meters (23 feet) at mid-span. The balustrades are predominantly glass to provide pedestrians with clear views of the river and the pedestrian walkways are paved with translucent glass panels.
Calatrava's new James Joyce Bridge not only introduces fresh innovative elements to bridge design, it also harmonizes beautifully with the theme of arch bridges across Dublin's Liffey River and the existing urban scale of the city's northwest quadrant.
1998 - 2003
James Joyce Bridge