10 December 2015

"Preferred bidder" chosen for Nine Elms / Pimlico bridge design competition

Here's another thing you already know but I've neglected to mention here until now.

A "preferred bidder" has been announced for the £40m Nine Elms / Pimlico bridge design competition. The preferred design team comprises Bystrup Architecture Design and Engineering, Robin Snell and Partners, Sven Ole Hansen ApS, Aarsleff, ÅF Lighting Aecom, COWI Engineering and DP9.

 This is an interesting contest. 74 entrants were winnowed down to 4, and now to the final 1, at least assuming Wandsworth Council accepts the jury panel's recommendation (which seems to be a formality). However, it's not a contest to choose a bridge design: it's a contest to choose a bridge design team, and it's possible that once they are appointed, and enter into further discussions with key stakeholders, an entirely different design could emerge.

I covered the four shortlisted designs, including Bystrup's, previously, so I won't go over the design's merits in detail again. Suffice to say that it's key feature is cycle ramps suspended above the River Thames, protecting river bank amenities (especially a public gardens on the north bank) at the expense of taking over large areas of the river channel.

Assuming Wandsworth Council accept their jury's decision, the next step is to formally appoint the design team and begin further design development. It may therefore be some time before we hear much more of the project.

The scheme seems to remain unpopular, especially with residents on the Pimlico side of the river. The Guardian noted "public fury" over the scheme but points out that much of the anger is misplaced, as the impact on the river bank park is actually minimal.

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