Unsupported browser

For a better experience please update your browser to its latest version.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We use cookies to personalise your experience; learn more in our Privacy and Cookie Policy. You can opt out of some cookies by adjusting your browser settings; see the cookie policy for details. By using this site, you agree to our use of cookies.

Design contest victory sparks new attacks on Nine Elms bridge


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.’


Readers' comments (4)

  • Good point on cyclists whizzing down the helter-skelter ramps. But the idea that dead-as-a-Dodo Pimlico would be ruined by 'waves of commuters' is silly. Transfused more like.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • I believe Jason Williams is a Councillor in Westminster rather than Wandsworth - which may make his objections more understandable.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Presumably nobody will need a passport to get to Pimlico on this bit of eye candy and nobody will have to pay a toll. When will politicians stop using planning and architecture in London to set precedents for economic and geopolitical ends in a global system? Does London need any more attractions to prove it is a state of the art world city? Clearly Daniel Moylan of Transport for London doesn’t consider the rest of the country when making his comments on a bridge which will mostly get used by those within London.
    London is the rest of the country’s – and the Commonwealth’s- capital city and it is a scandal that the M25 Dartford crossing still has a toll when the additional bridge mooted to have been planned 40 years ago has still not been built. So much for public private finance building infrastructure. If we left the EU would this Tory Government buy the bridges within the UK so that its subjects and citizens could move toll free within its borders?
    The quality of life for those who have to move around on anything except shanks’ pony or the holy bicycle has become worse and worse. Global warming calculations and economic productivity must include traffic jams in and around the cities that were planned to shrink post war, not expand. ( And wasn’t London supposed to decamp to Birmingham?)

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • I'm puzzled by the comment from an expert bridge designer that urban locations call for more urban visual themes, because I think that the very 'lightness' of the chosen design is very much in its favour, to minimise the obstruction to vistas along the river.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions.

Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.

Related Jobs

Discover architecture career opportunities. Search and apply online for your dream job.
Find out more