Ian Ritchie Architects won an invited competition organised by London Borough of Newham and assisted by Design for London to design a new crossing from the Excel Exhibition centre which will house Olympic events on the north side of the Victoria dock to the south side. The purpose of the crossing was to alleviate public exit flows during the Olympics. LB Newham also saw it as an opportunity to create a much needed link from the residential areas to the north of the docks to Barrier Park and the Thames.
Collaborating with Neil Thomas of Atelier 1 and Ringway Jacobs, engineers and managers, we developed a number of potential solutions ranging from temporary floating pontoon structures, opening bridges and a unique ‘water boatman’ – a revolving bridge. All solutions had to allow the permanent passage of dinghies and the dock maintenance craft, and be capable of opening to allow in large vessels up to 20 metres. After the principal stakeholders reached a conclusion to proceed with the Water Boatman scheme the project was cancelled to save funds/reduce Olympic costs.