Location:
Nine Elms, London
Client:
Wandsworth Council
Status:
Competition

Pedestrian only bridges are not new to London but a combined pedestrian and cycle bridge offers a new challenge. For this special project we set out to design a bridge like we would a bicycle: strong, light, sparing in its use of materials yet beautifully crafted and customised to fit each side of the river. This may seem a little obvious, yet strangely it’s not been done before despite the correlations between bridges and bikes.

We imagine that the anatomy of a bicycle could be subtly seen within the bridge – the top tube being comparable to the main span of 150m and head tube, forks seat tube and seat stay being comparable to the bracing (and landing) points on either side.

We designed the two landings differently to take accountof the specific nature of both ends. The landing point to the river’s north side ( in Pimlico Gardens) intentionally respects an established park and magnificent mature trees with a light touch articulation of the stepped and ramped landing. The existing river edge walk continues to flow under the landing.

On the south side of the river, the landing integrates a glazed cafe with a small open terrace on the river’s edge and ample cycle parking. We hope this would be an ideal meeting point for pedestrians and cyclists alike.

Both are encouraged to make eye contact and respect the sharing of the bridge surface. At the centre of the bridge the cycle and pedestrian flows crossover and cyclists are warned to slow down.

Crafted from the outset with attention to all details and seams, the top tube of the bridge is painted in deep pearl white to give it a cloud like quality.

The highly robust and low maintenance stainless steel underbelly reflects cruisers and canoes passing below and makes the bridge appear even thinner than it is.