World renowned architect Tony Kettle has revealed the inspiration for the new Renfrew Bridge over the River Clyde. 

Having previously designed buildings and landmarks across the globe including the Falkirk Wheel and Europe’s tallest building, Tony jumped at the chance to take charge of the Clyde’s newest crossing. 

Living in Edinburgh, Tony said: “It’s fantastic to work closer to home. It means more if you are given a chance to contribute to improving people’s lives close to where you live."

The new bridge is due to open this Autumn, and it is shipbuilding which is the main inspiration in its design. 

(Image: Renfrewshire Council)

Tony said: “It was a rare opportunity to celebrate all that is special about this place, to remind people of the rich industrial heritage that occurred on both banks of the Clyde. 

“What better way to celebrate it than with a new innovative moving structure."

The new crossing will connect Renfrew with Yoker and Clydebank directly for the first time and hopes to improve work, health, education, and leisure opportunities on both sides of the river.

“The Renfrew Bridge is both a physical and symbolic connection, a celebration of the coming together of two communities that will undoubtedly benefit from having closer ties,” said Tony. 

“It will create a gateway and a destination that should bring more people together to enjoy the riverbank and celebrate the history and rich cultural heritage that they share” he added. 

(Image: Renfrewshire Council)

On a recent visit to see the arrival of the final section of the bridge Tony said: “It’s fantastic to see the bridge in the flesh and I’m honoured and immensely grateful to the engineers and fabricators for their skills and ingenuity to make it a reality. 

“It will clearly improve transport connections between Clydebank, Yoker and Renfrew, but it will also give a focus and raise the profile of the towns as people and businesses are attracted to one of the longest span cable-stayed opening bridges in the world. 

“People will be proud, and it will be a real landmark for the area and the seed for much wider regeneration.”

(Image: Renfrewshire Council)

With more than 35 years of architectural experience Tony has reflected on the inspiration for his widely appreciated work, the Falkirk Wheel.

It was while playing with his daughter and her Lego that he felt the creative spark for the project, and this led to a design which has been featured as an example of Scottish innovation on the £50 note and within the British passport.

“I was making a Lego helicopter for my daughter and realised the gearing could be used to maintain the horizontality of the caissons containing the water and boats. 

“Maybe it’s just me that would think like that while playing with Lego, but sometimes the simplest tools are the best to understand a problem – and my daughter is still waiting to get her Lego back to this day,” said Tony. 

The new bridge is a key part of the £117million Clyde Waterfront and Renfrew Riverside project being led by Renfrewshire Council

The project is jointly funded by the UK and Scottish Governments through the £1.13billion Glasgow City Region City Deal.