Nine Elms to Pimlico Bridge competition entry, London
The site of the bridge is located along the River Thames to connect Nine Elms Riverside (US Embassy / Embassy Gardens) to Pimlico Gardens. The bridge is intended to provide walk and cycle access between a number of popular destinations such as between the new US Embassy in Nine Elms, Victoria Station and Westminster Cathedral. To enable this crossing, it must span approximately 220m over The River Thames. PLA required that structure for the bridge could be introduced within 30m zones either side of the crossing but that a 150m navigation zone is left unobstructed of any supporting structure and is provided with a minimum of 10m free head clearance for boats. As the river banks are located at +5.00 AOD, the underside of the bridge must rise 5m to provide the 10m clear span in the central navigation zone. If the bridge is designed to cross perpendicular to the embankment, it would not have the necessary length to bridge the 5m drop in height with a shallow accessible ramp. It would end at 5m above the level of the embankment at both ends, therefore requiring lifts which can be cumbersome and time consuming and when out of service for repairs, they make the bridge completely inaccessible for a disabled user.
The proposal aims to create a bridge crossing that is step ‐ free, without the use of lifts‐ for pedestrians and cyclists and uses the manner of movement of pedestrians and cyclists as the basis for the structure and aesthetic expression of the bridge. It is designed to cross the first 30m zone beyond the embankment diagonally to acquire a longer length compared with a straight crossing in order to provide the 10m headroom clearance over the 150m wide navigation zone. At this point, the bridge changes orientation to the opposite direction and continues as a 1 in 21 straight crossing to centre of the crossing. When the bridge reaches its apex at 17m A.O.D., a height which is determined for structural reasons, it is mirrored to connect to the embankment on the other side. This design enables step ‐free crossings over the river that take 1.8 minutes for cyclists and 5.75 minutes for pedestrians at average speeds. From the perspective of a cyclist the bridge eliminates the need for a cumbersome and time consuming journey up a lift and down on the other side.
From the perspective of pedestrians, the bridge is accessible by all users. Wheelchair users do not have to ride separately to bicycle users or a family member. Therefore, everyone can enjoy crossing the bridge with the same level of freedom.
Structure - Bollinger + Grohmann
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