Tickle Cock Bridge underpass by DSDHA

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Architects DSDHA designed the new underpass at Tickle Cock bridge in Castleford, UK.

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The underpass is one of several projects to regenerate the area in West Yorkshire, which will be the subject of a Channel 4 television series.

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Photographs by Martine Hamilton Knight.

The following information is from DSDHA:

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DSDHA and Wakefield Metropolitan District Council are delighted to announce the completion of our new underpass at ‘Tickle Cock’ bridge. The project is one of several regeneration initiatives in Castleford, West Yorkshire, which form part of a major new Channel 4 television series.

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CASTLEFORD’S OTHER BRIDGE - STRIKING NEW DESIGN BY DSDHA AT “TICKLE COCK BRIDGE”, CASTLEFORD, OPENED 27 JUNE 2008.

The Castleford Project is an initiative to support the regeneration of a former West Yorkshire mining town as part of a major new Channel 4 Television Series. DSDHA won first prize to develop a new urban landscape and public space at what was known as Tittle Cott Bridge which acts as the main pedestrian gateway into the town for over 10,000 people a day. Even though well-used, the place was ignored and unloved and its poor quality made an uninspiring entrance into the declining town centre – where, unlike the rest of the country - shops did not even open on Sunday.

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Having taken time to consult the public, DSDHA’s Deborah Saunt and Sam Potter initiated radical improvements to the derelict underpass and narrow pathways, and instead created a well designed public space where people could meet comfortably and no longer have to huddle up close to one another as they filed through the darkness. DSDHA worked in collaboration with the innovative artist Martin Richman and he has been responsible for new lighting and a flock lining to the concrete structure – echoing the location’s more popular name of Tickle Cock Bridge. Working with a local historian anecdotes were unearthed about the ribald goings on and cherished relationships that grew out of late-night assignations at Tickle Cock Bridge….and that Victorian prudery had eradicated by naming it Tittle Cott Bridge, thus sanitising a key part of the town’s popular culture.

Meanwhile, DSDHA have developed the design to involve completely rebuilding the existing 1890s underpass as well as creating new public space. It includes an multi-facetted and generous seating shelter with room for people to rest, along with and open plaza and green space which replaces overgrown wasteland and tumbledown walls.

Built on an extremely tight budget and with the challenging logistics of working under a live railway line, the project challenges one pre-conceptions of how the less significant places in our town’s deserve well designed infrastructure to compliment the more prominent projects that regeneration attracts. Here, everyday life is improved for thousands on an intimate and immediate level, working in tandem with the new town square and market place improvements – and the good news is that the shops in Castleford are now opening on Sunday…

The design has been developed with the support of engineers Jane Wernick Engineers and Max Fordham Partnership.

Launch of Castleford’s new landscaped gateway

A new landscaped public space which forms a key gateway for shoppers into Castleford town centre is officially opened on Friday June 27.

Wakefield Council Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Regeneration Culture and Sport, Denise Jeffery, will launch the new public space at 2pm

Designed by leading UK award winning designer Deborah Saunt and Sam Potter of DSDHA, the public space has been created as the second phase of improvements to the town centre’s Tittle Cott underpass. It is also part of the Castleford Project group of community regeneration schemes. This will be the focus of a major Channel 4 series, presented by Kevin McCloud, when broadcast in August

The Castleford Project is a collaboration between Wakefield Council, Channel 4, regeneration agencies and the local community as part of wider initiatives to improve the Castleford area.

The first phase of the new underpass was installed in December 2005. Funding for this second scheme is from Wakefield Council, the Neighbourhood Renewal Fund, Network Rail and the Arts Council England, Yorkshire. Up to 70,000 people each week use this as a key route into Castleford town centre.

DSDHA worked closely with local historian Brian Lewis and innovative artist and lighting specialist Martin Richman to help them seek and listen to local people’s views whilst developing design ideas for the new public space. Their design was developed with the support of engineers Jane Wernick Engineers and Max Fordham Partnership.

DSDHA has created a public space where people can meet comfortably and no longer have to file closely through the previously dark and narrow underpass
The original underpass dated back to the 1890s and has been variously known as Tittle Cott and Tickle Cock - a ribald reference to its location as a popular meeting place for local lovers.

The new design includes a generous seating shelter with room for people to rest, along with an open plaza and green space which replaces overgrown wasteland and tumbledown walls. It has been created against the challenging logistics of working under a live railway line, Councillor Jeffery said:” With this beautifully designed scheme we are able to improve the everyday experience for visitors and shoppers heading for Castleford town centre from Castlefields.

The underpass has a historic focus for local people and is now to be part of the town’s brighter future.”

  • Michael

    You have to love the process of drawings to polygonal confusion. Some day designers will move beyond technology and make it do what it used to do: represent our artistic visions. I would hate to say my buildings were once grand in my mind only to become extruded polygons or NURBs lofts. If it takes 100,000 tries before someone starts producing whats in their head again, please get it all out in small park benches and museum pieces.

  • cpcp

    does not seem very sensitive to the historical background. a very modern refurb….
    immediate thoughts… nestle museum in new mexico

    we need some pics at night dezeen – seeing as its main objective was to create a space “where people could meet comfortably and no longer have to huddle up close to one another as they filed through the darkness”

  • edward

    I can’t see where this relates in any way to the underpass. It’s not designed for seating from the look of it. Someone expressing their artistic sensibility, no doubt. Depressing.

  • 14street

    but its chic!

  • Michael

    Agreed, night shots all around. I dunno if city planners approve projects that hearken back to the days of a seedy activity in a pedestrian tunnel. History and my design criticism aside, this looks like an enjoyable space.

  • scruces

    Anything with the name “Tickle Cock” has got to be good. ;)
    Hurray for Tickle Cock bridge, the architectural seating/canopy is not bad either.

  • el jefe

    Tickle Cock? REALLY!?

  • andresr

    the nestle museum is just outside mexico city, mexico… not new mexico

  • ujo

    the poor pedestrian aren’t aware of coming in the belly of a monster.

  • ujo

    sorry, pedestrians

  • omar

    sorry… its called tickle cock?

  • brett

    Um WHAT is this thing called?

    Sorry. Somebody had to say it.

  • sylvie

    i really cannot think of a worse name for a bridge…

  • B

    it does not tickle my cock, nor my bridge

  • unpopular

    its a painfully contrived gesture.

    but i must say the tickle cock looks especially good as a summery backdrop for flabby arms and pasty-pale british calves… who says high design needs wallpaperesque silhouettes holding martini glasses whilst jiving to muzak…

  • joe

    how does a fancy faceted seat regenerate an area?? where has all the criticality gone….

  • Frank-3

    I’m glad to see someone is looking forward and not trying to be part of the profession that has been on life support for some time now.

  • sam

    is that near Fondlebush?

  • xtiaan

    its totally tickling my cock!
    (but only if the red seating continues into the underpass)

  • xtiaan

    @ unpopular

    theres really no pleasing you is there?

  • Suzy

    “Working with a local historian anecdotes were unearthed about the ribald goings on and cherished relationships that grew out of late-night assignations at Tickle Cock Bridge….and that Victorian prudery had eradicated by naming it Tittle Cott Bridge, thus sanitising a key part of the town’s popular culture.”

    Love it.

  • scruces

    Oops! Turns out it’s not “Tickle Cock” but rather “Tittle Cott” – via the site of the architects responsible for the work. :P

  • scruces

    Actually both are accurate – “Tickle Cock” stands as it’s original name

  • http://www.martinrichman.com martin richman

    yes the red flocked surface does extend along one wall of the tunnel and forms a floating panel for the illumination.
    i agree night shots are required, but there is some remedial work to be done before lighting resolved.
    its proper name is ‘tickle cock’ and is known locally as that, but official council cant quite bring themselves to endorse its original moniker.