Fresh from imagining London skyscrapers that cast no shadow and an underground walkway that replaces trains, the folks at NBBJ have drawn up a festive concept for the River Thames in the UK's capital. The Frost Flowers project would create a number of natural ice rinks on the river and allow visitors to enjoy ice-skating, markets, and exhibitions during winter.
There's renewed interest in the Thames lately, what with the Thames Deckway and Thames Bath Project both seeking to reconnect people with the river. Unlike those proposals though, Frost Flowers is purely conceptual and there are currently no plans to actually make it happen.
That said, the basic idea is quite clever and comprises retractable jetties that would spread out into disc shapes. Situated just below water level, the pan-like objects would each remove a shallow basin of water from the river flow and enable it to freeze during cold weather (the rest of the river could still flow to allow boat traffic). The firm reckons the system could potentially be installed anywhere with suitably chilly weather.
Though the concept seems rather outlandish, NBBJ argues that it would actually be something of a return to form for the Thames.
"For centuries until the early 1830s, when the original London Bridge limited the flow of the river and caused it to freeze over for large parts of the winter, the Frost Fair was a reoccurring citywide celebration." explains the firm. "In celebration of the holiday season, and with an eye toward the current climate talks underway in Paris, London-based architecture practice NBBJ has taken inspiration from this once great London event to return the winter spirit to the capital."
Don't hold your breath then, but as usual from NBBJ, some interesting food for thought.