London Mayor, Boris Johnson is to renew plans to create a new habitable bridge across the Thames, according to weekend media reports
The Sunday Times reports that early plans being drawn up by Anthony Brown, Johnson’s policy advisor are being modelled on designs by Antoine Grumbach, the French architects who won a competition to design a habitable bridge held by the Royal Academy in 1996.
The plan will see the construction of a new crossing, between Waterloo and Blackfriars bridges complete with shops, cafes and homes in the manner of the original London Bridge or a 21st century Ponte Vecchio.
It is being backed by the business group, London First. The designs show the bridge would be suspended from twin 35-storey towers on the north side, containing luxury flats with views over the city. On the south side, a greenhouse over the Thames would contain tropical trees and plants.
The overall cost of the project is currently estimated at £80 million.
In 2000, the AJ reported how the English Heritage fiercely opposed any plans, saying the Thames is ‘an open space which belongs to everyone in London. The river is not a development site and should not be walled off.’
Grumbach was joint winner of the Royal Academy Living Bridge scheme along with Zaha Hadid. Grumbach however emerged as the ‘people’s choice’ with more than 37 per cent of those visiting the RA ‘Bridging the City’ exhibition saying it was the favourite of the seven shortlisted.