Ian Ritchie Architects were invited to present design ideas in an invited competition organised by the Royal Academy, London, for a habitable bridge crossing the Thames between Temple Gardens and London Weekend Television Centre on the south bank.
The 20th Century will leave a legacy of Thames riverside walks through London, but also the expansion of private dwellings bordering the Thames without riverside access. We took the view that the privatisation of the river and its space is unjustified. Just as the great parks of London have no private accommodation within them, London’s greatest landscape – the Thames – should remain equally protected from private privilege. Our proposed bridge is a public destination and a crossing. It would serve all Londoners and those who come here as visitors. Public leisure activities inhabit the space inside the structure.
Our design seeks to create a special place by synthesising urbanism, architecture, engineering, and landscape into a harmonious whole. We believe it is unnecessary to indulge in loud techno-engineering gymnastics, or permit overt commercialism.
The landscape design is made particular to its location between the two tree-lined edges of the river by specific framed views of key London landmarks.
A book was published capturing the public exhibition at the Royal Acdemy, and the exhibition was enormously popular and consequently the exhibition has been shown in various cities across the world over the following decade. During a respite in its travels, the exhibition material was destroyed in a fire at the warehouse where it was being stored.