Marks Barfield doesn't do things by halves - at least not where the Thames is concerned. Having invented the London Eye (the real millennium project, delivered without the benefit of Lottery money), the practice looked a natural choice to work on the new proposed bridge between Thamesmead and Beckton Gas Works, unveiled last week. The scale of this bridge is staggering:
although the section across the Thames is about 500m, the total length is nearly 2km because of the need to get to a height of 50m to allow ships through. The line of the bridge is more or less the same as that of the ill-fated proposals by Santiago Calatrava a decade ago, which failed as a result of political incompetence and Treasury parsimony too painful to recall here. This time round, Transport for London is taking no chances, hence the fast-track process to appoint an engineer from its framework agreement list, Halcrow, to bring options forward with a an architect on the team. There is every possibility that, having established a physical and cost framework, the job will go to PFI competition, with other architects having a crack at the design. Will Marks Barfield supervise the process? Could it with Halcrow compete for the job? Wait and see.