Critics have weighed in against both the concept and proposed design of a new £40 million footbridge connecting Nine Elms and Pimlico in London
Last week, a judging panel recommended the selection of Bystrup with Robin Snell Architects as designers for the new crossing.
But the competition result appears to have sparked a backlash against the bridge among local residents and design experts.
Wandsworth councillor Jason Williams called for the immediate cancellation of what he described as a ‘vanity project’.
He said: ‘There has been a large community petition against the bridge and a wide ranging community campaign and yet the council still ploughs on without regard to the views of residents.’
Leading bridge designer Cezary Bednarski told the Architects’ Journal that the proposed design was out of place in London.
He said: ‘In my view this is the wrong structural system for this location. This is an urban location and urban locations call for urban visual idioms. This bridge is not “urban”. It would best sit in open countryside, where it would be a focal attraction.’
Bednarski added that the curved ramps taking cyclists onto the bride would be ‘a hair-raising experience’ at rush hour.
‘We are at present completing our large competition winning cycle and pedestrian bridge in the centre of Copenhagen and I am quite sure that this design solution would get no traction there,’ he said.
Even before the winning design was revealed on Wednesday, Labour and Conservative councillors from Westminster Council on the north bank of the Thames had voiced ‘cross-party opposition’ to the new pedestrian and cycle bridge.
The councillors were particularly concerned with the propsoed landing site and claimed any bridge would have an unwelcome ‘visual and environmental impact’ and potentially lead to issues with ‘traffic flows and pedestrian movement’ in and around Pimlico on the north bank (AJ 25.02.15).
Bryan Avery, founder of Avery Associates, agreed, saying the bridge could ruin St Georges Square in Pimlico by attracting waves of commuters.
He said: ‘It’s one of the finest late Georgian garden squares in London but it is also highly vulnerable to over-use as not just the only publicly accessible garden in Pimlico but the site for the annual garden fete too. It is de facto Pimlico’s village green.’
However, Transport for London board member and chair of the Mayor of London’s design advisory group Daniel Moylan voiced support for the process.
He said: ‘I think the principle of such a bridge is very welcome. I am sure the jury, under such distinguished chairmanship, has done a good job in identifying the best proposal.’