This elegant bridge just won the 9 Elms bridge competition, and the northern NIMBY neighbors go nuts

short listed bridge Bystrup
© Bystrup Architecture Design and Engineering

TreeHugger loves covering pedestrian infrastructure, and previously looked at the competition to build a new bridge from Nine Elms, a formerly derelict part of London on the south side of the Thames, with Pimlico, an extremely posh area on the north.

pool in the sky© Nine Elms via Designboom
Low income housing being built in Nine Elms at least has some recreational facilities

Nine Elms is being totally redeveloped into a quite expensive area, complete with ludicrous flying glass swimming pools and bomb-proof embassies.

bridge over thames© Bystrup Architecture Design and/PA

Now the winner has been selected, and to my surprise, my favourite won, the thin and elegant design by Danish firm Bystrup and Robin Snell Architects. I loved it for its minimalism, and Olly Wainwright of the Guardian likes it too, noting that it "is a model of elegance which goes to extraordinary lengths to touch the north bank as sensitively as possible; in fact, it barely touches it at all." Which should have addressed the issues raised by the NIMBYs, but alas, the Pimlico partisans are still not happy. In the Architect's Journal, the locals complain that they don't want all those billionaire refugees from the south side in their park, claiming that "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." One objector notes:

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.

It's a shame, because the bridge is not a one way street, and some useful stuff is being built on the south side that the Pimlico residents might want to send their cooks and nannies to, including a giant Waitrose grocery store. But as Wainwright notes, " the lure of an in-store sushi bar and “scan as you shop” service is clearly not enough to placate Westminster."

Really, who knew that a few bikes and pedestrians could be such a big deal.

bridge at evening© Bystrup Architecture Design and/PA

Tags: Bike-Friendly World | Bikes | London

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