Arc Designs has created a cantilevered viewing platform, and walkway with a glazed floor, perched on one of the highest points of the Rock of Gibraltar. Named Skywalk, the viewing platform is built above an existing WWII military platform in the Upper Rock Nature Reserve that once served as a base for anti-aircraft Bofors guns. Arc Designs wrapped the existing stone platform with a 2.5-metre-wide glazed walkway and balustrade, which cantilever over the steeply dropping terrain. Steel stairs lead from the walkway up to the top of the original military platform, where the old octagonal concrete gun-base now serves as a seat for visitors to rest and gaze out towards the horizon.
The design aspiration of this project was to afford the visitor with new and unrivalled views in all directions including over the rocky cliff-face below, while at the same time ensuring a subtle intervention, which did not detract from the natural and historic nature of the unique setting. The structure is anchored to the ground with numerous rock anchors, which each support a tensile load of 15 tonnes. The anchors ensures that the structure can withstand not just the imposed load of visitors above but also the considerable wind speeds of over 93 miles per hour that are generated over the ridge of the rock.
The Skywalk can be accessed from the road via a panoramic lift, which anchors the overall cantilevered structure back to the terrain. The Skywalk’s main steel structure comprises 18 separate pieces, weighing a combined total of over 30,000 kilograms, while the glazing modules, which include 750-square-metres of glass panels, are roughly the equivalent area of four tennis courts with the largest component weighing approximately 650 kilograms.