National Highways reveals ‘gantry of the future’

The competition was organised by National Highways in conjunction with the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), with 32 entries from architectural firms from across the UK and Europe.

The winning entry, created by Useful Studio, features a simple, pared-back design approach.

It was chosen by the judging panel for its “elegance and simplicity, and how cohesive the design concept was across a range of different structures.”

As well as a modern look, it will also have less impact on the environment, with a projected reduced carbon footprint compared to current gantries.

Useful Studio will now work with National Highways to develop their design concept with a view to it becoming the standard design for new roads and major upgrades from around two years’ time.

The winning entry uses less steel than existing designs and pre-weathered rather than painted steel meaning potentially lower maintenance requirements and fewer lane closures and delays for drivers.

National Highways Executive Director for Operations Duncan Smith said:   “This is a great opportunity for us to develop a more streamlined, elegant, and consistent visual appearance for roadside gantries to enhance drivers’ experience when driving on England’s motorways and Major A-roads. 

“Existing designs tend to emphasise function over form, our challenge is to create innovative structures that can accommodate the required signage and equipment that are more sympathetic to the environment.  

“In selecting Useful Studio as the winner, the judging panel admired the simplicity and elegance of the pared-back design approach, and the opportunities it presented in terms of a resource efficient, standardised, coherent suite of gantry structures that would be potentially sympathetic to a broad range of settings and contexts.”  

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