Conceptual Design of Bridges


A strong concept is at the heart of successful bridge design. It provides a solid bedrock from which to develop the project, galvanises designers and allows stakeholders to understand its rationale. Most importantly, it ensures the client will secure best value from the project, as a good design concept encompasses the need for the project as well as its technical resolution.

This course aims to help engineers to gain an appreciation of the process of conceptual design for bridges, in terms of both selecting a structural form to suit the constraints of a particular site and arranging materials and components to meet the demands of the structure in an elegant and logical way.


Learning outcomes

By the end of this course, you should be able to:

  • Identify how the conceptual design of a bridge is informed by physical and environmental site constraints as well as social, cultural and historical factors
  • Recognise the value of, and use sources of inspiration
  • Read a bridge design
  • Explain basic structural systems typically used in bridges
  • Select appropriate structural forms and materials
  • Form, develop and communicate a concept




Martin Knight is an architect specialising in bridge design and transport infrastructure. Martin founded Knight Architects in 2006 and the practice has enjoyed success in UK and international competitions, including the Merchant Square Bridge, London, the Kruunusillat Bridges in Helsinki, Margaretenguertel Bridge in Vienna and four bridges at Darmstadt, Germany. He is an experienced Architect and Fellow of the RIBA and IABSE. In 2013 he was elected a Companion of the Institution of Structural Engineers.

Ian Firth FREng FIStructE FICE is currently Director of COWI (UK) and President of the Institution of Structural Engineers. He is a world-leading expert in bridge design and construction. During his career, Ian has been involved with world-famous bridge projects like the strengthening of the Severn Bridge, Erskine Bridge and West Gate Bridge, and the concept design of Stonecutters’ Bridge in Hong Kong, as well as many smaller pedestrian bridges such as the new Inner Harbour Bridge in Copenhagen.


Intended for

Engineers with little or no experience of conceptual design of bridges, those wishing to explore conceptual design of bridges from an architectural perspective, and experienced engineers willing to refresh their conceptual design thinking.


Entry criteria


Event Information

Eventbrite - Conceptual Design of Bridges

Event Status
Places Available

Event Date
15/03/2018 - 16/03/2018

10:00 - 17:30

£475 + VAT for Members
£615 + VAT for Non-Members

The Institution of Structural Engineers, International HQ, 47-58 Bastwick Street, London, EC1V 3PS, United Kingdom

Ian Firth & Martin Knight

Event Contact Email

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