Architecture

Design chosen for car-free crossing of London's River Thames

Design chosen for car-free cro...
Bystrup's Nine Elms Bridge will be central London’s first car-free crossing for cyclists and pedestrians, if it is constructed
Bystrup's Nine Elms Bridge will be central London’s first car-free crossing for cyclists and pedestrians, if it is constructed
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Bystrup's Nine Elms Bridge will be central London’s first car-free crossing for cyclists and pedestrians, if it is constructed
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Bystrup's Nine Elms Bridge will be central London’s first car-free crossing for cyclists and pedestrians, if it is constructed
The bridge is designed to be fully accessible, to be a fitting landmark and sensitive to its surroundings, to minimize the loss of open space on and enhance either bank where it lands and integrate with the local transport networks on both sides of the river
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The bridge is designed to be fully accessible, to be a fitting landmark and sensitive to its surroundings, to minimize the loss of open space on and enhance either bank where it lands and integrate with the local transport networks on both sides of the river
The gently looping ramps of Bystrup's Nine Elms Bridge will provide users with 360-degree views of London
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The gently looping ramps of Bystrup's Nine Elms Bridge will provide users with 360-degree views of London
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A winner has been selected in London's Nine Elms to Pimlico Bridge competition. The jury has chosen Bystrup Architecture Design and Engineering's graceful, elegant and functionalNine Elms Bridge unanimously from a shortlist of four, which itself was whittled down from 74 entries.

If delivered, the bridge will be central London's first car-free crossing for cyclists and pedestrians. Graham Stirk, senior partner at Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners and chair of the competition jury panel, commended Bystrup for aspiring to "celebrate the river" with its design. He also said the jury felt it took the most compelling approach to the challenges posed in the brief.

"Their light touch approach to landing points is commendable and the exploration of lighting and textured surfaces to manage movement across the bridge is both interesting and inventive," said Stirk. "They see the bridge as a sustainable transport link and piece of new public realm which should be attractive, fun and a pleasure to use."

Among the requirements outlined in the brief was the need for the bridge's span to be high enough for large vessels to pass beneath, without creating slopes too steep for cyclists or pedestrians. In addition, it had to be fully accessible, to be a fitting landmark and sensitive to its surroundings, to enhance and minimize the loss of open space on either bank where it lands and to integrate with the local transport networks on both sides of the river.

The gently looping ramps of Bystrup's Nine Elms Bridge will provide users with 360-degree views of London
The gently looping ramps of Bystrup's Nine Elms Bridge will provide users with 360-degree views of London

Bystrup says its design is also intended to respond to the historic context of the area. With that in mind, the span is to be sleek so as to allow for unobstructed views along and across the river. It describes the bridge as being "minimal, seamless" and "jewel-like."

The bridge is aimed at having minimal physical and environmental impacts. Among its features, Bystrup points to 360-degree views of London afforded to users as they climb the gently looping ramps to the crossing level and and an intelligent lighting system, with lights integrated into the handrail and deck.

Although the Bystrup's design has been selected by the jury as the winner, it is not yet assured of being built. It must first receive consent from Wandsworth and Westminster Councils, as well as the Mayor of London. The scheme would also need planning permission.

While no dates for construction or completion have yet been set, around £26 million (US$39 million) has already been set aside for the construction of the bridge, as part of the regeneration plan for the Nine Elms area. A bridge is expected to cost in the region £40 million ($60 million), though the final cost has yet to be calculated. Options for any additional required funding will be explored.

Sources: Wandsworth Council, Bystrup Architecture Design and Engineering

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6 comments
JohanthanIngenssonLogan
What rubbish! This bollocks design forces pedestrians to walk twice as far as they need to with its silly spirals. The design punishes people for walking.
Scott in California
It's very good design, regardless of JILogan's three sentence putdown. A spiral requires about thirty seconds of added walking at each end, but it enables bicyclists avoid the carry of bicycles up stairs and down stairs, which is very unsafe for small children. Aesthetics are quite good as well.
Albert Feyen
Wow, what a waste of money! No one will want to walk twice as far as necessary to cross a river.
Milton
@ Johanthan Actually, any walking that you deem un-necessary is of an upward or downward movement. It is not "un-necessary" to distribute upward and downward movement with length.
For example, a direct path connecting point A to point B, with 20 foot walls on either side wouldn't be a very great bridge. So the question you should really be asking yourself, is whether or not the distance traveled is providing the ideal upward / downward movement. And in order to be qualified to answer that question in today's society you need to be an elderly person in a wheelchair. ;-)
steveraxx
Amazing thing is it not. Negative comments for everything from new tech bicycles, to jet engines, to a guy complaining about a pedestrian bridge!
If you are so weak, that you cannot take a walk up a ramp. You have some issues far beyond entering this bridge by walking up a ramp. The mile aerobic impact by walking up a ramp is a benefit. For people intelligent enough to see that fact.
Timelord
@JohanthanIngenssonLogan, It's a good thing you weren't on the jury, because you obviously didn't read the criteria. Specifically the one that says to minimize loss of open space on either bank. Whether the ramps are straight or spiral, the slope, length and rise would have to be identical to allow the necessary clearance for boats to pass under the bridge. If the ramps were straight, people would have to walk quite a distance from the river to get to the ends, which would probably make for an even longer walk than up the spiral ramps. You could make a right-angle ramp with a relatively sharp bend at the bridge, but then the long distance down the ramp would make it a longer walk for someone coming from the other direction down the riverbank. The jury isn't as dumb as you think and you're not as smart as you think.