The Garden Bridge, inspired by British actress Joanna Lumley and designed by London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic cauldron designer, Thomas Heatherwick, will be a major pedestrian crossing above the River Thames and a stunning new public space for London.
As well as serving as an important new walkway, and landmark for the city, the Bridge will help to breathe new life into an area of the north bank that is currently undergoing a renaissance. Featuring shrubs, trees and plants, benches and intimate walkways – the Bridge will also become a major new green space for the city, like no other.
The project now moves a crucial step closer with the launch of the The Garden Bridge Trust and the opening of a public consultation, before seeking planning approval early next year. It is estimated that construction of the Bridge would begin in 2015, with its completion scheduled for the end of 2017.
Thomas Heatherwick, designer, said:
London is where it is because of the river Thames. But over many years the human experience of this amazing piece of nature has been marginalised by successive transport moves. The city on the north bank and the historic district of Temple is almost completely isolated from the river by the dual carriageway of the Victoria Embankment that slices it’s way along the north bank and other than its wonderful view, Waterloo Bridge is surprisingly unfriendly for pedestrians. There is now an opportunity to connect London together better, to give Londoners a huge improvement in the quality of pedestrian river crossing in this area, to allow us all to get closer to the river and at the same time to stimulate new regeneration possibilities at both ends where it lands. I believe that the combination of Transport for London’s brief for a new river crossing and Joanna Lumley’s inspiration for a new kind of garden will offer Londoners an extraordinary new experience in the heart of this incredible city.
The Garden Bridge, which was designed in conjunction with Arup, will be a garden featuring an abundance of plants, trees and shrubs indigenous to the UK and London. The landscape will be designed by leading UK designer and horticulturalist, Dan Pearson. Along with walkways, benches and plants that will change with the seasons, the bridge will provide a new route across the river and join an unresolved curve by linking South Bank with Aldwych, Covent Garden and the Strand.
More than just a walkway, the bridge has also been designed to be a destination, allowing visitors to take in the views of some of London’s most famous landmarks, including St Paul’s Cathedral, the Shard and the Gherkin and sit and relax amongst the garden’s woodlands.
The Garden Bridge Trust will oversee the delivery of the project, including navigating it through planning, and its construction. The Garden Bridge Trust, currently a registered company, is in the process of obtaining charitable status and will begin an active fundraising campaign. It is estimated that it will cost in the region of £150m to design and build the bridge. The project has already won considerable interest and support from private donors.