Outlandish concepts submitted for London bridge competition

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Design submissions for a new bridge in London linking Nine Elms and Pimlico have been revealed (Image: NEP Bridge Competition)

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There has been plenty of opposition to London's proposed Garden Bridge based on its design, location and management. Now, however, a new bridge further up the Thames has grabbed people's attention. Designs for the proposed Nine Elms to Pimlico bridge range from the understated to the absurd.

The competition seeking designs for the Nine Elms to Pimlico bridge was launched in early December last year as part of a regeneration plan for the Nine Elms area. Around £26 million (US$40 million) has already been committed to the project as part of the regeneration scheme, with plans for the chosen design to be used as a means of attracting additional funding. The total cost is expected to be around £40 million ($62 million).

"The design must work alongside the cutting edge architecture emerging on the south bank as well as the elegant frontages on the north," says leader of Wandsworth Council and co-chair of the Nine Elms Vauxhall Partnership Ravi Govindia. "The landing points on both sides must integrate sensitively with their surroundings and provide a smooth and safe experience for the pedestrian and cyclists who use it."

The submitted designs are being exhibited publicly in London this week. They have also been made available to view on the competition website. The designs are displayed anonymously in line with EU competitive procurement rules with public feedback being sought. Below are some those that caught Gizmag's eye.

Although this design is perhaps not the most pleasing to the eye, it's by no means ugly. It also appears to be designed around a large space for sitting or hosting events, rather than adding such a space as an afterthought. This has the potential to make the bridge a cultural and community destination for the Nine Elms and Pimlico areas, instead of just a travel through route.

Of all the design submissions, this is the one that perhaps most looks like it's meant to be there. It's understated and simple, perhaps too much so, but the gentle curves make for a pleasing design, while getting people from A to B with minimal fuss.

Whisper it quietly, but the tree-lined pathways of this design call to mind the controversial Garden Bridge. Nevertheless, we like the raised planted outcrops and the continuous pathways that either reach down to provide access to the bridge or rise up to provide users with views of the surrounding area.

Despite having the playful aspects of a child's drawing, something about this concept keeps drawing us back and taking it more seriously each time. Although it may be abstract, and even a bit bonkers, it's actually rather fun.

In March, a jury including architect Graham Stirk, engineer Henry Bardsley and Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (CABE) chair Pam Alexander will shortlist up to four designs to take forward to the next stage. The winning design is expected to be revealed later this year, with eventual planning approval from Wandsworth and Westminster Councils and sign off from the Mayor of London being required before anything is built.

You can view the bridge design submissions in our gallery.

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