London Bridge is…going up!

Garden Bridge computer generatedI’ve just heard that Lambeth Council has approved an application for the Garden Bridge – and I’m thrilled. I first heard of this project at the start of the year and I’ve been meaning to blog about it for months, so this is an ideal opportunity to mention it.

Garden Bridge wooden modelThe original idea came from the actress Joanna Lumley, as a memorial to Diana, Princess of Wales. The ‘slowest way to cross the river’, the bridge would be wide and rambling, somewhere to get lost in, look at London from unusual angles, and help to breathe green life into the centre of the city. Thomas Heatherwick, who designed the huge cauldron used in the opening scene of the London Olympics, has designed it, and it’s amazing. The supporting piers are like tree roots emerging from the river and the computer generated model looks a little bit like Jurassic Park in the middle of the city.

As the bridge will have ends on both banks of the river, permission has still to be granted by Westminster Council, and it’s hoped this will be given next month. Building the bridge is, of course, only the first stage – it will then need to be filled with plants. Landscape designer Dan Pearson has brought a naturalistic approach, emphasising wildness rather than manicured nature. Many plants will be local to the area and the planting scheme will reflect the horticultural development of London. And there will be lots of trees – on a bridge – across the Thames! I can only repeat – amazing.

The Italian architect Palladio, five hundred years ago, remarked, ‘A bridge should be part of the way, the way extended over water. Convenient, beautiful, and able to withstand the years.” I expect the Garden Bridge to be all three, and I can’t wait to see it brought to fruition.

There’s more about the bridge, and a link to the plans, here – http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-30015011

The Garden Bridge Trust has a website here – http://www.gardenbridgetrust.org

 

 

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2 thoughts on “London Bridge is…going up!

  1. Martin Smith

    Hi,

    Is this really something to be amazed about? It will be another narrowing of our perspective along the river. Every which way we look, buildings are rising up around us, cutting off sight lines, hemming us is. Now that the South Bank has become a cash cow, they have to erect a construction to extract even greater profits from the visitor attraction.

    Londoners have not been consulted properly. Only yesterday I stood at the spot where this bridge will be built. Already the changes at Blackfrairs Bridge have robbed us of some of the view downriver. But, hey, that doesn’t matter because soon we’ll have another bridge in the way of Blackfrairs, obscuring the skyline, and making us feel hemmed in between Waterloo Bridge and the “Garden Bridge”. Do we want to visit the South Bank to connect with a river, a force of nature that connects us back through history, or to visit a corporate theme park that obscures our ability to relate to and enjoy the river.

    And the promise of yet more visitors arriving at the Southbank (more pockets for big business to pick), if you’d been there yesterday you would have seen how packed it was. Sucking in more visitors will make visiting the area unbearable. Not that big business, the South Bank or Coin Street’s Board care as the cash will be flowing in.

    Yes, gardens across the river sounds so cute and wonderful, a typical Joanna Lumley idea, but the reality is that we’re being robbed of natural space and a view of the river, with the skyline along its banks. Every which way one turns these days, some man made money spinning contstruction has to be shoved in your face, obscuring our ability to relate naturally to the world and space around us, indeed to connect with our history and past.

    Sorry about this rant, it’s not directed at you personally, I’m just deeply saddened to be robbed of yet more of my city and a river I have enjoyed walking along for 20 years. The bridge has nothing to do with London, it’s people or local communities. There has been no proper consultation as it is about more bucks for big business.

    Most Londoners haven’t a clue about this Garden Bridge or the real ramifications until, as usual, it’s too late.

    All the best,

    Martin.

    Reply
    1. allisgordon Post author

      I’m sorry – I too didn’t mean to offend you. As someone who doesn’t live in London, I’m looking at it from the perspective of a visitor, and it does sound an intriguing idea. I can see your point of view too; the Thames and its banks offer one of the biggest expanses of sky you can get in London and it’s one of the places I feel I can breathe properly in when I’m there.

      Reply

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