Categories ArchitecturePosted on

A New Garden Bridge above the River Thames

The Garden Bridge is a visionary project for a new pedestrian bridge that will stretch across the River Thames, holding an extensive garden. The idea of creating a floating garden above the river to connect north and south London was first envisaged by actor and campaigner Joanna Lumley, and later designed by Heatherwick Studio, alongside engineers Arup and landscape designer Dan Pearson. Now, they are working closely with Transport for London to develop this fantastic project that will provide new green walking routes to and from Covent Garden and Soho, due to start in 2017 to become a reality in 2019.

The Garden Bridge is a visionary project for a new pedestrian bridge that will stretch across the River Thames, holding an extensive garden. The idea of creating a floating garden above the river to connect north and south London was first envisaged by actor and campaigner Joanna Lumley, and later designed by Heatherwick Studio, alongside engineers Arup and landscape designer Dan Pearson. Now, they are working closely with Transport for London to develop this fantastic project that will provide new green walking routes to and from Covent Garden and Soho, due to start in 2017 to become a reality in 2019.

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Located between Blackfriars and Waterloo bridges, the 366 metre-long-copper-nickel footbridge will provide commuters with a quick and beautiful route connecting the vibrant district of South Bank with Temple and the north bank area east of Somerset House and Waterloo Bridge. For wanderers, the bridge will be a beautiful natural space right in the heart of central London, a perfect place to stop and relax surrounded by 270 trees, 2,000 shrubs, hedges and climbers, more than 22,000 perennials, ferns and grasses, and 64,000 bulbs (mostly indigenous to the UK), carefully selected and placed by award-winning landscape designer Dan Pearson. This series of gardens on the bridge will provide year-round colour and interest, where you can enjoy the spectacular views of London.

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The Garden Bridge Trust is the non-profit organisation behind this magnificent project, that has copper as a fundamental part of the design by Thomas Heatherwick. This acclaimed London designer (responsible for projects that include the 2012 Olympic Cauldron, the New Bus for London and the UK Pavilion for the Shanghai World Expo 2010), chose 90-10 copper-nickel as the main material for the bridge mainly because of its sustainability, strength and endurance. Besides, it introduces a warm contrasting tone between the steel and stone architecture of the buildings on either side of the river.

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The bridge is formed of two piers that appear to grow from the riverbed, holding the garden above. This design allows for significant soil depth, particularly over the piers, which have been coated in corrosion-resistant copper-nickel alloy from its feet on the river bed up to the underside of the bridge deck.

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As one of the greenest capital cities in the world, this precious new piece of landscape will add to London’s rich and diverse horticultural heritage and provide a unique green corridor that will help to ecologically enrich the area. Furthermore, the Garden Bridge will also improve the quality of life for Londoners and achieve the highest environmental standards, bringing many benefits to the city.

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With a structure that widens and narrows across its span, the elevated garden will not only be a safe and easy way for London’s many commuters and visitors to cross the river, it will also have places along its length for pedestrians to stop and better enjoy the remarkable river setting and unparalleled views of the city. The addition of careful planting with variety in scale, openness and intimacy will create a new kind of public space in the city.

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Using technology developed by design lead Arup, the Garden Bridge has come to life in virtual reality. Check out the 360 tour here to see what the gardens and views from the Bridge will be like when it opens.

Learn more about the Garden Bridge by watching this video narrated by Joanna Lumley:

Credits

Images credit Arup

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