The legendary Cunard Queen Elizabeth 2 on the Hudson River in New York City, October 16, 2008, as she departs for the final time.

26 February, 2011

Bridge Design Evolution of the Queens

For this excercise, I am deliberately leaving out and discussion on the new Queen Elizabeth. In my opinion, there is no design evolution or connection with the previous Queens save for a near carbon copy of the QE2 foremast and a rather untidy rendition of QE2's iconic funnel.  Check back here for a future post on QE's funnel design.

Let's compare the original Queen Elizabeth bridge and forward superstructure design with that of Queen Elizabeth 2.  The similarities are striking when one compares photos taken at similar angles of the two ships. In retrospect,  I now find the QE2 design  more evolutionary than I had once thought.  The enclosed bridge, while present on the original Elizabeth, gets updated with a modern, futuristic flare on QE2, with the added feature of the forward raked windscreen.  Let us also not forget that the original QE2 windows were not painted out in black, but were painted out in a tan color.  In my opinion, the black accentuates the design and imparts a look that is more modern that the original color scheme.  In fact, Stephen Payne recognized this aspect of QE2's design and incorporated it into Queen Mary 2's bridge design, with the raked center portion and blacked out window frames.

The functional open bridge wings are evident in both Elizabeth designs, with the vertical supports still present, but tucked in a bit from the superstructure on QE2.  Cleverly, the ships running lights are integrated into these structures on both ships.  Both ships also have observations decks located below the bridge area; my favorite exterior place to be I might add.   Even the wind deflector device at the face of the open bridge wings is evident on both designs.  The forward facing windows became smaller and less in quantity in the QE2 design, but the intent of updating the Queen Elizabeth fenestration pattern is clearly evident, especially when you see what the original designers intended.

The current configuration of QE2, with the later appendage housing an expanded kitchen and resulting plating over of the taller existing forward facing windows on QE2 diminishes the outright comparison of the appearance of the forward superstructure with that of the original Elizabeth.  In fact, when I first laid eyes on QE2, I was surprised to see the lack of forward facing windows.  I am not alone in that I have never know QE2 without the modifications to the forward superstructure.  From these shots above and below of QE2 undergoing sea trials, it is clear that the designers were intent on an evolutionary, yet modern interpretation of the legendary original Queen Elizabeth, proudly built on the Clyde.


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