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THE OLYMPICS SHOULD BE A CHANCE TO BUILD BRIDGES

LETTERS

In one of those pleasantly rambling conversations one has with fellow consultants, in this case Jessica Beattie and David Blackwood-Murray of Lovejoy, we shared an opinion on the London 2012 Olympic plans, which show a lot of wide land bridges. We like land bridges, but there can be too much of a good idea. We heard that some were to be demolished after the event.

This sparked off our concern for the sinister towpaths beneath - the widest bridge is about 100m, imagine what would go on under that.

Inspired by Plecnik's Triple Bridge in Ljubljana, why not instead of the 'mitten' have separate 'finger' bridges? Some of these could then relocated, post Olympics, to make useful river crossings elsewhere on the Lea. This could be a true legacy.

The challenge is to design smart prefabricated structures that are quick to install and moveable. Moving large flows of people into separate 'streams' might also have safety benefits.

Given how we use bridges as meeting places and lookouts, each needs to have a memorable character to help navigation for the thousands who may only visit the site for a day. This suggests the need for arts collaborations to help transform the murky waters below. A precedent in my mind is Ambit, by Alison Wilding, which was a piece comprising partially submerged buoys on a river in Sunderland - a wreath to lost shipping industry - that glowed by night.

The Olympics provide wonderful opportunities to showcase designers' ingenuity and resourcefulness.

David Prichard, Metropolitan Workshop, London

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