New images released showing Heatherwick's
Garden Bridge across the Thames

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News: British designer Thomas Heatherwick has revealed new images of his proposed Garden Bridge across London's River Thames, which is now scheduled for completion in 2017 (+ slideshow).

Heatherwick Studio is working alongside engineers Arup and landscape designer Dan Pearson on the £150 million plans, proposing a pedestrian bridge covered in trees and shrubs to span the river between South Bank and Covent Garden. A public consultation on the latest designs was launched on Friday, ahead of an expected planning application in early 2014.

The 367-metre bridge will feature two fluted piers, supporting a promenade that splits into two and is interspersed with benches and indigenous plants.

Garden Bridge by Thomas Heatherwick
View from the north bank showing entrance to Temple station

"London is where it is because of the river Thames. But over many years the human experience of this amazing piece of nature has been marginalised by successive transport moves," said Heatherwick, who also redesigned the city's iconic routemaster bus.

"The city on the north bank and the historic district of Temple is almost completely isolated from the river by the dual carriageway of the Victoria Embankment that slices it's way along the north bank and other than its wonderful view, Waterloo Bridge is surprisingly unfriendly for pedestrians."

"There is now an opportunity to connect London together better, to give Londoners a huge improvement in the quality of pedestrian river crossing in this area, to allow us all to get closer to the river and at the same time to stimulate new regeneration possibilities at both ends where it lands," he added.

Garden Bridge by Thomas Heatherwick

A charitable organisation named The Garden Bridge Trust has been created to drive forward the project and organise fundraising. It is chaired by Mervyn Davies, the former government minister who oversaw Heatherwick's UK pavilion at the Shanghai Expo.

"This is the first major milestone for the project and marks a very clear intent to create a new landmark for London," said Davies. "The scheme has been shaped and developed into a proposal that will contribute significantly to the future of London's development and we are committed to ensuring The Garden Bridge will be something that London can be proud of."

Garden Bridge by Thomas Heatherwick

Heatherwick was awarded a tender by government body Transport for London earlier this year to develop ideas for improving pedestrian links across the river. The design derives from a concept by actress Joanna Lumley for a new park in central London.

"I believe that the combination of Transport for London's brief for a new river crossing and Joanna Lumley's inspiration for a new kind of garden will offer Londoners an extraordinary new experience in the heart of this incredible city," said Heatherwick.

Construction of the bridge is anticipated to begin in 2015.

  • Ar t

    Personally, I admire the design intentions and the outcome. It looks amazingly beautiful.

  • tcoupe
  • generalpopulation

    I rather love it.

  • Ralph Kent

    Projected cost June 2013: £60m
    Projected cost Nov 2013: £150m

    The QE effect – ‘making £millions meaningless’

    PS. Foster’s Millenium Bridge cost: £18m

  • Isembard

    And how will the investors get a return on their investment?

    • Ralph Kent

      They are hoping for lots of altruistic donations to the fund. But TfL has already paid £4m, and looking at the way finance runs in London / the world at the moment, you can well anticipate that this will be something that will eventually end up being funded out of general taxation… “A great landmark and legacy for London that all Britons should feel proud of, Thomas Heatherwick has once again reminded us why London, indeed Britain, leads the world in design….” (A potential BoJo speech)

    • Ralph Kent

      They are hoping for lots of altruistic donations to the fund. But TfL has already paid £4m, and looking at the way finance runs in London / the world at the moment, you can well anticipate that this will be something that will eventually end up being funded out of general taxation… “A great landmark and legacy for London that all Britons should feel proud of, Thomas Heatherwick has once again reminded us why London, indeed Britain, leads the world in design….” (A potential BoJo speech)

  • Ralph Kent

    Never mind Hungerford Bridge! Waterloo Bridge would be there first. Map of the proposed crossing is on TfL’s site:

    https://consultations.tfl.gov.uk/rivercrossings/garden-bridge

  • Richard John Francis

    It makes a lovely bold statement but my gut feeling tells me that there are other parts of London who need the benefits of a green lung more than something stretched over the Thames.

    Is it truly what urban greening is all about – or grandstanding to make some nicer views off billionaires balconies?

  • Just a Guy

    They really haven’t solved how it lands on the river bank have they? Interesting scheme, spoiled by a clumsy resolution of the level difference between the bridge and the bank.

    It’s a difficult problem – but I think a stronger division between the bridge and the existing tube station would give it a design clarity it currently lacks.

  • Robert J. Williamson

    I like it but I hope this is paid for by the rich in London as it is only for use by the rich in London. I live up north and my city doesn’t even have a proper bloody art gallery.

  • Sust

    I get the intent but bridges work when they connect to the grain of the city. This does not. The endings are really clumsy for a £150m vanity project.

    The green spaces can be made to work with almost any structure, c/f the High Line. A truly green bridge across the river could be possible atop the old columns of old Blackfriars bridge at a fraction of the cost.