New Garden Bridge For Thames, By Olympic Cauldron Designer

Plans for an interesting new bridge on the Thames, linking the Victoria Embankment and the South Bank, have been revealed.

Designed by Thomas Heatherwick (the chap behind the Olympic cauldron, and this excellent bridge in Paddington), the new £60 million crossing features a garden, in what looks like a nod to New York’s High Line. Only better.

The new bridge would sit between Waterloo and Blackfriars bridges, hopefully revitalising the Temple area to the north, and opening up walkways to Covent Garden and Soho. It’ll be more complex than the Thames’ current newest pedestrian crossing, the Arup-designed Millennium bridge: the garden bridge will widen and narrow along its span, and contain a park with grasses, trees and wild flowers from around Britain.

Heatherwick won a Transport for London tender for ideas to improve pedestrian access across the river. The designer is now working with Arup to develop the idea, with the aim of having final designs ready for publication in mid July, and submitting them for planning permission in the spring. If all goes well, the bridge could be a reality in 2016.

But the plans are dependent on Heatherwick raising cash from private sponsors. As with the ArcelorMittal Orbit and the Emirates Air Line, the GLA isn’t investing public money, instead hoping to fund the scheme with a high profile sponsor. Engineering website nce.co.uk suggests Apple might be interested.

It’s not the first green river scheme to receive backing from the Mayor: in 2012 a floating river park was indefinitely postponed as it was feared it could alter the Thames’ flow and damage other bridges.

Are you a fan of Mr Heatherwick? Here’s our guide to other pieces of his work around London.

See also:

London’s unbuilt bridges

Where to build the High Line in London

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  • http://londonist.com/ Dean Nicholas

    “like a nod to New York’s High Line. Only better.”. You’re kidding, right?

    • Zoe Craig

      No: this one goes *over* a river. And is in *London*. That’s two big ticks in the “better” box, if you ask me. And I love the High Line.

      • http://londonist.com/ Dean Nicholas

        New York’s has three things going for it: (1) It’s much, much longer (2) It’s in New York, indisputably the greater of the two cities (3) It exists, whereas this one will probably never get built

        • M

          Wait a second…not to troll or anything, but how come you’re a senior editor at Londonist if you’re all into another city? Grass is always greener…at very least they’re different.

          • http://londonist.com/ Dean Nicholas

            You don’t have to be in love with London to write here. I like London but it’s not my favourite city (probably in the top 5 I’ve been to, just about).

    • Stella

      so, you work for the Londonist. Are you really allowed to undermine an article in your own publication like this? Perhaps you should have sorted out your editorial differences prior to publication.

      • http://londonist.com/ Dean Nicholas

        Come now, I’m hardly “undermining” the article. An exchange of differing views is healthy for any publication.

        • Stella

          you did point out that it will never be built and that London is pretty shit compared to New York. I’d say that was more than a minor exchange of views….

          • http://londonist.com/ Dean Nicholas

            If you think that was “more than a minor exchange of views” you should see the arguments we have at editorial meetings…

  • MB

    More bridges on the Thames = yes. And I love the park concept. However, the piers are pretty damn ugly, so I hope it gets a redesign. I hate architects.

    • Rudy Russel

      I totally second this!

  • http://londonist.com/ Dean Nicholas

    Back to the subject… I hope this doesn’t get built — a crossing in east London is far more important and under the current mayor we’ve had plenty of pretty but pointless projects supposedly funded privately which have in fact delved into the public coffers (hello, cable car). Also, as somebody pointed out on Twitter: it’s fiercely windy along the river for most of the year — the gardens would be stripped bare within days.

    • Stella

      Finally, i agree with you. As a cyclist I’m utterly fed up with having to cycle 5 miles into Woolwich and then 5 miles back the other way just to get to somewhere a couple kms from where i live.

      Also – actually being able to cycle across the river in the same way as, let’s say …..motorists (who get to drive across the river in several places out east) would also be every nice and shorten every journey by 20 minutes!!

  • Rudy Russel

    Doesnt need another bridge even though I like how green this one is. First we need a cleaner thames and a river bank that is more accessible and inviting and London would actually make it to a better place on the quality of living index than place 38! There is a river in the city and nobody hangs out at its bank because it’s just absolutely dirty and ugly.

    • Stella

      bit unfair – its true in places, but much of the thames is accessible and i see plenty of people hanging out on the banks of the thames.

      agree with the living index bit though

  • Robyn

    I agree with Dean, as a New Yorker myself, you cannot get a better high line, in fact I’m not sure where they are drawing the comparison from.

  • Nick

    I like it but, another bridge in West London? We need more crossings East of Tower Bridge Boris!