Thomas Heatherwick spoke about the Garden Bridge at a rare public lecture in London last night (29 June)
The Garden Bridge designer defended the controversial location for the Thames crossing at the NLA’s annual lecture held as part of the London Festival of Architecture.
‘We had looked at other locations for the bridge’, he said.
‘But the human scale of this bridge is about lingering and looking out at the city. At other locations, such as Battersea, you didn’t want to linger.’
He added: ‘It has to be in the centre of the city or not at all.’
Campaigners had previously claimed the bridge should be built elsewhere, criticising the 367m-long crossing for being in the ‘wrong place’.
Despite being the subject of a review by Transport for London of its procurement following a Freedom of Information investigation by the AJ, work is continuing at pace on the £175 million bridge.
Test piles are currently going in the Thames and Heatherwick revealed designs for the bridge’s planters, railings, lighting, and seating.
Heatherwick continued: ‘London has treated the Thames as an obstacle to breach. Why does a bridge have to be barrier and not a place?’
‘We want to create a garden that stitches London together and not a bridge with a few plants on it.
‘The hero of the Garden Bridge needed to be the garden. The bridge designed itself along some key parameters. The project is really just two planters which sit in the river.’
Calling his lecture ‘work in progress’, Heatherwick’s talk also described his career so far from his work as a student through to current projects including the Learning Hub at Nanyang Technological University and the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary African Art in Cape Town.