Four bridges are short-listed for London's 9 Elms pedestrian and cycling bridge competition

The one that's a long and winding road
© Ove Arup & Partners Ltd with AL_A, AKA The one that's a long and winding road

Over at MNN, Matt Hickman looks at 10 fanciful and far-out design concepts for London's new pedestrian bridge, picking some of the craziest of the 74 submissions. The proposed bridge connects the huge redevelopment of industrial lands around the famous Battersea Power Station, known as Nine Elms, to the established Pimlico area of Westminster.

short listed bridge Bystrup© Bystrup Architecture Design and Engineering

Now they have narrowed it down to a short list of four, with six runners-up. I am rather fond of Bystrup's elegant minimalist one here, also known, according to CityMetric, as "The one where it's too misty to see anything," but it may be the Turneresque rendering that sold me. The short listed bridges are not nearly as wild or interesting as some of the ones Matt shows, but they all appear buildable. Unfortunately, the NIMBYs on the north side in Pimlico are having none of it, and have no interest in the nouveaux riche types from the south side walking or cycling onto their turf. According to the Architects' Journal,

The one with the pretty bows© Ove Arup & Partners Ltd with Hopkins Architects, "AKA The one with the pretty bows"

Labour and Conservative councillors on Westminster Council have voiced ‘cross-party opposition’ to the new pedestrian and cycle bridge - a proposal which is being backed by Wandsworth Council south of the Thames. According to a joint statement, both parties hold ‘strong concerns’ about the crossing’s landing site in their borough and the potentially ‘damaging impact that the proposed bridge would have on Pimlico’s last remaining piece of public open space by the river’.

The one supported by a pair of chopsticks © Buro Happold Ltd, AKA "The one supported by a pair of chopsticks"

One might have thought that they would have worked this out before 74 architectural and engineering firms did all this work. It's a good example of what Kriston Capps wrote about in Fast Company in the case against open design competitions.

Coffey Architects with Buro Happold© Coffey Architects with Buro Happold, AKA The one which will turn all of London to wood

Personally I love this runner-up by Coffey Architects with Buro Happold, even though it has no visible means of support. See the other runners-up here. Almost all of short list and runners-up are more plausible than the heavy, clunky Garden Bridge being built downstream, and these are proposed for a location where a bridge is actually needed. Shame about the Pimlico NIMBYs though.

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