NINE ELMS BRIDGE COMPETITION
In collaboration with colleagues at Office of Architecture Barcelona (OAB), Ove Arup & Partners Ltd. and Pondio Ingenieros, EA was commended in the recent competition to design a new river crossing connecting the new development at Nine Elms, with Pimlico on the Northern bank of the Thames. The brief demanded a landmark bridge, which makes an impact whilst still respecting the south west London setting and sensitivity of key river views in a historic area of London. EA's solution offered a simple elegant scheme, which was robust and understated, but introduced layered histories into a contemporary bridge design. The idea of the Thames as a historic plant trading route was a key concept for the design, which would encapsulate different planting types and species brought to London via the Thames. The landing points are not only structurally integral but also experientially essential to the integrity of the bridge by providing an isthmus of vegetation on each riverbank. These planted plinths reflect the cultural and horticultural nature of their landing points – the north bank being planted with Oak and natural Thames River Valley plantings and the south bank being planted with the New World plant discoveries that first came to the UK up the River Thames on board ships from the Americas, Asia and other parts of the world. It was envisaged that the nature of these plantings would be explored with stakeholders as the bridge design develops.