London Bridge isn't falling down, it is just really boring. It used to be an exciting place, an inhabited bridge full of shops and taverns, but they got rid of all that centuries ago and replaced it. A few decades ago, they took the 1831 version apart and sold it to an Arizona real estate developer . But the idea of London Bridge is 800 years old this week, and the Royal Institute of British Architects and the wonderfully named Worshipful Company of Chartered Architects ran an architectural competition to design a new inhabited bridge.
Laurie Chetwood was the winner.
The judges wrote:
A beautifully presented scheme, wildly imaginative yet very thoroughly considered, both in terms of its construction but also how it could sit within the wider context. The design refers to the surrounding buildings, using them as reference points and inspiration behind the form. It is also full of interesting ecological ideas and on all levels seems to work well. This was a unanimous first choice amongst the panel.
It has everything a TreeHugger could love, including a vertical farm, a farmers market, photovoltaics, a wind turbine, cafés and shops. Rainwater is harvested to supply the hydroponic landscape and toilets.
I particularly liked the third prize design by Ryszard Rychlicki, a 4th year student of Architecture & Town Planning at the Academy of Fine Arts in Poznan Poland. It is completely un-treehugger:
If we treat a house as a product with a programmed product life , which after the expiry of the guarantee we may simply throw away. Such behaviour from the point of view accepted in the philosophy of civilization would be entire rational. After all, we live in a utilitarian cult. Whatever we do is based on using and then throwing away. Why should it not apply to a house?
More at Worshipful Company of Chartered Architects
More on London Bridge:
Creative Financing: Putting Shops and Cafes Back on a London Bridge