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London Low Line contest finalists’ designs revealed

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The designs by the five anonymous finalists in the international contest to design a sustainable masterplan for London’s Low Line have been unveiled

The concepts to reinvigorate 19th-century railway viaducts through Bankside, London Bridge and Bermondsey were chosen from 82 entries submitted from 32 different countries.

The proposed Low Line, inspired by the success of New York’s High Line, is a proposed linear regeneration focusing on a series of underused viaducts stretching from Southwark tube station on Blackfriars Road in the west to Southwark Park Road in the east. 

The phased project aims to transform the structures, which create a physical barrier between central and south London, into a continuous piece of green infrastructure featuring a ‘world-class walking route’ and engaging public spaces which enhance urban biodiversity and promote the health and wellbeing of residents and businesses.

The anonymous RIBA competition invited multidisciplinary teams of architects, landscape architects, artists, ecologists and designers to create a ‘green and creative vision and strategy’ for the project.

The contest is backed by Better Bankside and the Low Line Steering Group, with support from the Lund Trust, a charitable fund set up by Peter Baldwin and Lisbet Rausing.

Each of the shortlisted teams will receive £4,000 to further develop their schemes, with the overall winner taking forward one or more sites along the route.

The designs have now gone on show at a series of exhibitions around Bermondsey and London Bridge ahead of final judging on 20 November.

Judges include Rausing, Landscape Institute president Adam White, Tim Rettler of the Greater London Authority regeneration team, Rebecca Lury, deputy Leader of Southwark Council, and Graham Morrison, partner at Bankside-based Allies and Morrison, who will be acting as RIBA adviser.

Valerie Beirne of Better Bankside said: ‘We’re really pleased with the number of entries we’ve received, and the quality and creativity displayed. The Low Line group is particularly keen to hear the views of those working and living along and around the Low Line as we choose the winning green vision.’

A winner will be announced in December.

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Readers' comments (1)

  • This idea could do with further explanation, because - unlike projects for the 'greening' of pedestrian routes along disused railway viaducts - the railway here is still very much in use, and the landscaping would be at ground level to either side.
    This presumably involves streets and 'backland' in multiple ownership, and doesn't this make it far more complex and challenging than other 'on viaduct' schemes?
    There's also the issue of the market value of the arch spaces, where the railway infrastructure body has come in for sharp criticism recently for moving to maximise the rental income from often low-cost business tenants.
    Should the 'Lowline' project go ahead there'd presumably be significant impact on the commercial value of arch spaces, and is it the intention for this to help fund the project?

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