After winning a Transport for London (TfL) tender for ideas to improve pedestrian access across the River Thames, Thomas Heatherwick and Arup unveiled plans for a new ‘Garden Bridge’ that will span the river from Temple to the Southbank. The structure, earmarked for opening in 2016, would be the first new crossing since the Millennium Bridge opened to the public in 2002.
“With its rich heritage of allotments, gardens, heathland, parks and squares, London is one of the greenest cities in the world,” stated Heatherwick. “In this context we are excited to have been selected by TfL to explore the opportunity of a pedestrian river crossing. The idea is simple; to connect north and south London with a garden. We have been working with actor and campaigner Joanna Lumley, who has been a proponent of such an idea for several years.”
“It’s quite strange to talk of something that doesn’t exist yet, but the Garden Bridge is already vivid in the plans and the imagination,” Lumley commented. “This garden will be sensational in every way: a place with no noise or traffic where the only sounds will be birdsong and bees buzzing and the wind in the trees, and below the steady rush of water. It will be the slowest way to cross the river, as people will dawdle and lean on parapets and stare at the great cityscapes all around; but it will also be a safe and swift way for the weary commuter to make his way back over the Thames. There will be grasses, trees, wild flowers, and plants, unique to London’s natural riverside habitat. And there will be blossom in the spring and even a Christmas tree in mid-winter. I believe it will bring to Londoners and visitors alike peace and beauty and magic.”
Heatherwick plans to submit plans early next spring, however the feasibility of the project is entirely dependent on obtaining £60m in funding.
In other news, Heatherwick was awarded a CBE (Commander of the Order of the British Empire) at the Queen’s 2013 Birthday Honors for his service to the design industry. More information on the awards can be found here on the BBC.
Reference: Heatherwick Studio, Building.co.uk, BBC
Thomas Heatherwick Designs 'Garden Bridge' in London originally appeared on ArchDaily, the most visited architecture website on 17 Jun 2013.
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