Four rival designs for a new Thames bridge to be unveiled next week

On 21st July 2015, four rival designs will be unveiled for a new pedestrian and cycle bridge across the Thames from Pimlico to Nine Elms.

An exhibition – which will move between venues on each side of the river as well as being online – will showcase more detailed proposals from the four teams who made it through to the second stage of Wandsworth Council’s design competition.

Stage one of the contest attracted 74 entries from across the globe which were then whittled down to the shortlisted four by a jury panel including Wandsworth Council leader Ravi Govindia, Lambeth Councillor Joanne Simpson, architect Graham Stirk, engineer Henry Bardsley and Pam Alexander, Chair of Cabe at the Design.

Londoners will be invited to have their say on the updated designs and feedback will be fed into the final decision making process. The jury panel will begin its assessments in late July with the winning team chosen in the autumn.

The shortlisted teams are:

  • Buro Happold Limited (team lead) – with Marks Barfield Architects, J&L Gibbons Landscape Architects, Gardiner and Theobald
  • Bystrup Architecture Design and Engineering (team lead) – with Robin Snell & Partners, Sven Ole Hansen ApS, Aarsleff and ÅF Lighting
  • Ove Arup & Partners Ltd (team lead) – with AL_A, Gross Max, Equals Consulting and Movement Strategies
  • Ove Arup & Partners Ltd with (team lead) – Hopkins Architects and Grant Associates

The aim of the competition is to identify world class design talent capable of overcoming the very complex challenges involved in a pedestrian and cycle link across this stretch of the river.

Among the key tasks the teams face is the bridge height. It must rise high above the shoreline to give boats headroom to pass beneath – but must provide a means for cyclists and pedestrians to safely navigate the incline and decent.

Other key challenges include:

  • Creating a fitting landmark which is sensitive to the different urban characteristics of each shoreline and elegant in its own right
  • Providing a safe and attractive link for pedestrians and cyclists crossing the river, encouraging sustainable travel between the two banks
  • Complying with the Disability Discrimination Act; ensuring it is accessible to all
  • Minimising the loss of open space and positively enhance the public realm where it lands on either shore
  • Achieving a safe and efficient integration with the transport network on both banks

A TfL transport study confirms the Nine Elms to Pimlico bridge has a strong business case and would provide another valuable route through central London to support the shift towards zero emission, sustainable travel options.

A £26 million contribution is already identified from the development of Nine Elms and the new design would be used to lever-in further funding.

The bridge is part of the infrastructure package needed to support growth in Nine Elms on the South Bank where tens of thousand of new jobs and homes are now being created alongside billions in growth and tax receipts.

The competition is being managed by Colander and follows OJEU public sector procurement processes so the successful design team can be appointed to the project should it go live. The scheme would need to go through the planning system before it could be built.