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Competition: Portland Road bridge, South Norwood

Portland Road bridge, South Norwood
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Croydon Council is inviting submissions for a new £50,000 art installation for the Portland Road bridge underpass in South Norwood, south-east London

The team chosen for the commission will transform the ‘dark, damp and unwelcoming’ railway bridge underpass into a ‘much brighter and more inviting place’ by creating an artwork which incorporates an existing 1980s mural.

The project, backed by local pressure group People for Portland Road, is part of wider plans to regenerate the historic suburb, which has suffered a prolonged period of economic decline. Proposals for the 26m-long underpass must improve the pedestrian experience while also allowing maintenance inspections of the bridge and being simple and affordable to run and maintain.

In its brief, the council says it wants the commission ‘to transform the experience for pedestrians passing under the railway bridge. Currently the underside of the bridge is dark and unwelcoming and just a space to hurry through as quickly as possible.

‘Through a combination of architectural lighting and other design elements, we are looking to create a space that feels welcoming, and safe and engaging to pass through – a physical and social “connector” rather than a barrier. We would welcome proposals that highlight the architecture and shapes of the underside of the bridge, and that reflect or acknowledge the rich heritage and local character of the area.’

South Norwood, originally the location of the historic Great North Wood, is a Victorian suburb and home to 16,518 people.

Portland Road is a major thoroughfare close to South Norwood High Street and Norwood Junction station. The rail bridge was constructed from brick and iron girders in 1845 and carries the London-to-Brighton mainline as well as London Overground services.

The space beneath the bridge is noisy, damp, dark and unwelcoming to pedestrians but features some unique original architectural features and has the potential to become a new inviting ‘gateway’ to the area.

The project aims to transform the bridge into a brighter and more inviting place while also ensuring the space is safe for pedestrians, cyclists and motorists. Proposals must be vandal and weather resistant and reflect the aspirations of the local community.

Submissions should include concept designs, cost estimates, a methodological description, and anticipated timescales from appointment to final installation and completion.

The deadline for applications is 5pm on 4 May.

How to apply

View the brief for more information

Contact details

Nick Tennant
Regeneration and Growth Service
Croydon Council
District Centres and Regeneration Directorate
Bernard Weatherill House
8 Mint Walk

Tel: 020 8726 6000 ext 61813
Email: nick.tennant@croydon.gov.uk 

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