Virtual reality film offers preview of Heatherwick's Garden Bridge

Virtual reality movie offers a preview of Thomas Heatherwick's Garden Bridge

The team behind London's controversial Garden Bridge have released a short film that allows viewers to experience the project in virtual reality (+ movie).

The two-minute movie released by the Garden Bridge Trust transports users to the centre of the plant-covered structure proposed by British designer Thomas Heatherwick across London's River Thames.

Virtual reality movie offers a preview of Thomas Heatherwick's Garden Bridge

It offers an opportunity to see some of the proposed tree and plant species on the bridge, as well as experience a new perspective of city landmarks including St Paul's Cathedral and Richard Rogers' Cheesegrater.

The movie was developed by a team from Arup, the engineering firm for the bridge. It creates a virtual reality experience through the use of stereoscopic videography, which creates an extensive depth of field.

The team gathered the base imagery by taking a boat out onto the river and positioning the camera at a precise location. They then overlaid the film with a three-dimensional model, using information provided from all the project's technical consultants.

Virtual reality movie offers a preview of Thomas Heatherwick's Garden Bridge

"The unique style of the flora meant individual plants needed to be three-dimensionally modelled in incredible detail, to give a real-life experience," explained David Edge, virtual and visualisation leader at Arup.

"It's amazing that we can show people how spectacular the bridge will be before we have even started construction," he added.

Virtual reality movie offers a preview of Thomas Heatherwick's Garden Bridge

Billed as a "beautiful new garden floating above the River Thames", the 367-metre-long Garden Bridge is set to be constructed between Temple and the South Bank.

Heatherwick designed the bridge, although it was originally conceived by British actress Joanna Lumley.

It is expected to cost £175 million, with £115 million from private donations and £60 million of public money already committed. The source of the remaining £30 million has not yet been revealed, although London mayor Sadiq Khan has pledged that no more public money will be used.

Virtual reality movie offers a preview of Thomas Heatherwick's Garden Bridge

The Garden Bridge Trust has named bank Citi as the sponsor of the virtual reality movie, addressing any possible concerns about funding.

The aim of the film is to "show this amazing work to as many people as possible through the most up-to-date forms of communication", according to Bee Emmott, executive director of the Garden Bridge Trust.

"The Garden Bridge will be a wonderful place to relax on your way to work or to look out over the cityscape," she said. "So pick up your smart devices and step into London's next landmark."