Bystrup triumphs in Nine Elms to Pimlico bridge contest
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Bystrup triumphs in Nine Elms to Pimlico bridge contest with "elegant and simple" design

Danish firm Bystrup has been selected to design a new pedestrian and cycle bridge across the River Thames in west London – the same day another crossing was unveiled for the other side of the city.

The Bystrup-led team, which also includes London architecture studio Robin Snell & Partners, has been recommended as the winner of the Nine Elms to Pimlico Bridge competition, ahead of architects including Amanda Levete and Hopkins.

Featuring a slender structure and spiralling ramps at both ends, the proposal is described by the design team as a "minimal, seamless crossing" with single spire masts and an "elegant" winding deck.

Pedestrian and cycle bridge by Bystrup

It is expected to become London's first pedestrian-and-cycle-only bridge, although London studio reForm Architects is also bidding for this title with a car-free bridge proposed between Canary Wharf and Rotherhithe.

"From the outset we wanted to design an elegant bridge that provided simple and uninhibited access for all, with minimal impact landings on each bank," said studio founder Erik Bystrup, who is also behind the UK's new pylon design.

"We are very excited that this will be the first shared pedestrian and cycle bridge over the Thames, adding to the rich history of London's river crossings," he added.

Bystrup's design was selected by a panels of judges that included Graham Stirk of Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners, engineer Henry Bardsley, and council leaders from the London boroughs of Wandsworth and Lambeth.

It won't be formally announced as the competition winner until next week, as Wandsworth Council still has the power to override the decision if its finance and corporate resources committee aren't satisfied with the result.

The other shortlisted teams were Buro Happold with Marks Barfield Architects and J&L Gibbons Landscape Architects; Arup with Amanda Levete Architects; and Arup with Hopkins Architects and Grant Associates.

"This was an extremely difficult choice between four excellent teams, but ultimately we felt that Bystrup and their partners had the most compelling approach to the challenges posed in our brief," said Stirk.

"Their strategy is elegant and simple, they aspire to celebrate the river and create a thing of real beauty which is what this bridge should be," he continued.

Pedestrian and cycle bridge by Bystrup

"Their light touch approach to landing points is commendable and the exploration of lighting and textured surfaces to manage movement across the bridge is both interesting and inventive. They see the bridge as a sustainable transport link and piece of new public realm which should be attractive, fun and a pleasure to use."

The competition for the new pedestrian and bicycle bridge across the Thames was launched by Wandsworth Council at the end of 2014, and a longlist of 74 designs was revealed in February.

The project is expected to cost £40 million and is part of a wider £1 billion infrastructure overhaul for the south London area of Nine Elms, which stretches from Battersea to Vauxhall and includes the new US Embassy and Battersea Power Station.

A £26 million contribution of funding from the Nine Elms project has been assigned to the bridge, and further funding options will need to be explored in tandem with the detailed design process.

Other members of the design team are wind consultant Sven Ole Hansen, engineers Aarsleff and COWI Engineering, lighting specialist ÅF Lighting, masterplanner Aecom, and planning consultant DP9.