Technogym
Technogym
Technogym

Heatherwick blames 'political wrangling' for Garden Bridge woes

Creating calm, walkable and connected public spaces has become an urgently needed glue to hold city centres together
– Thomas Heatherwick

“Endless political wrangling” is responsible for the likely abandonment of London’s Garden Bridge project, its designer Thomas Heatherwick has claimed.

Last week London mayor Sadiq Khan said his office will not guarantee to underwrite the bridge’s operational and maintenance costs, if private funding and commercial operations can not cover them. Planning permissions for the bridge require such a commitment from the mayor.

In a letter to Lord Mervyn Davies, chair of the Garden Bridge Trust, Khan said the lack of all the necessary land use agreements for the bridge and a significant funding shortfall means the project is too much of a risk to the taxpayer.

Today (2 May), Heatherwick has given his view in an opinion piece written for the London Evening Standard newspaper – which has long supported the scheme, as has its new editor, former British chancellor George Osborne.

He said ending the project now, when “large sums of public and philanthropic money have been pledged and spent” would represent “such a missed opportunity and waste of resources.”

“Whatever the politics, to me as a Londoner this is saddening,” he said, adding that “it is always easier to stop an unusual new idea than to make it happen.”

Critics of the project – which would see a 366m-long footbridge supporting an expansive garden stretch from the top of Temple underground station on the Northbank to the South Bank – have hit out at the rising costs of the bridge, the restrictions that would be placed on members of the public wishing to use it, and the controversial procurement process that saw Heatherwick Studio win the contract.

In response, Heatherwick has claimed it would be a landmark for London. “What parent wouldn’t want to be able to stand with their child, in the middle of the greenest bridge in the world and marvel at the greatest city on Earth?” he wrote.

“I firmly believe it will happen one day. I just hope we don’t have to wait too long.”

The Garden Bridge Trust, which told CLAD it remains “very confident we can raise the remaining funds required” for the project, has not confirmed how it plans to proceed following Khan’s decision. It could request an amendment to the planning conditions from the local authorities involved.

In his own words
Thomas Heatherwick defends the plan for a garden bridge across the Thames

“I first got excited about the idea of a garden bridge when it was pointed out to me that despite having the best views in the whole city, the human experience of our river crossings tends to be of pavements attached to the side of dual carriageways.

“Anyone trying to look at the view is buffeted by wind and the cars, buses, lorries and motorbikes roaring behind you. And when you ask people if they have ever been asked to meet someone on one of London’s bridges, the answer is always “never”.

“The exciting question seemed to be whether a bridge could be an actual place rather than just a link.

“Creating calm, walkable and connected public spaces has become an urgently needed glue to hold city centres together.

“Anyone who has experienced the magic stitching of New York’s dislocated West Side by the raised High Line Park created on a disused railway line (whose creators have been advising the Garden Bridge Trust) can envisage what this can do.

“Our north bank hides an amazing wealth of medieval history, but new developments of luxury apartments risk cutting it off and creating a dead zone for pedestrians.

“The north and south banks feel like two different countries. Standing on Aldwych you feel a million miles from the relaxed energy of The Queen’s Walk.

“But a bridge of 366 metres, free to use, open every day, holding a garden created by amazing plantsman Dan Pearson, that you don’t get whooshed along by cars but lets you dawdle and gaze; that sounded to me like a completely new type of space that Londoners could get something from.

“I firmly believe it will happen one day. I just hope we don’t have to wait too long.”

Thomas Heatherwick  Garden Bridge  Sadiq Khan  London Evening Standard 
Related stories
28 Apr 2017

London mayor scraps plan for Garden Bridge

12 Apr 2017

Supporters of London's Garden Bridge and New York's Pier 55 vow to keep Heatherwick projects alive

“Endless political wrangling” is responsible for the likely abandonment of London’s Garden Bridge project, its designer Thomas Heatherwick has claimed. Last week London mayor Sadiq Khan said his office will not guarantee to underwrite the bridge’s operational and maintenance costs, if private funding and commercial operations can not cover them. Planning permissions for the bridge require such a commitment from the mayor. In a letter to Lord Mervyn Davies, chair
CLD,VAT,ARC,DES,DEV
Thomas Heatherwick has passionately defended the bridge / Charles Sykes/Invision/Press Association Images
More news
News stories: 1 - 30 of 7662     
 
 
 
News stories: 1 - 30 of 7662     
 
 
 
company profile
Company profile: Willmott Dixon
Willmott Dixon delivers the social infrastructure that people depend on in their daily lives. We partner with our customers to focus on the services they want to provide, not just the building we construct, and we are committed to achieving a higher social purpose through our work.
Try cladmag for free!
Sign up with CLAD to receive our regular ezine, instant news alerts, free digital subscriptions to CLADweek, CLADmag and CLADbook and to request a free sample of the next issue of CLADmag.
sign up
features
Three flights of wide steps invite the visitor into the building.
Alexander Schwarz
"Our aim was to create a place celebrating public space and accessibility"

The opening of the James-Simon- Galerie on Berlin’s Museum Island completes two decades of work for David Chipperfield Architects. The lead designer talks us through the building

Last word: Tina Norden
Tina Norden
"We have created an approach which is playful, provocative but also functional"

Conran and Partners’ Tina Norden on playing with colour at Prague’s newly redesigned Hotel Maximilian

Arranged over a series of five cells, the roof reflects the component parts of the Macallan Distillery
Stephen Barrett (left) 
and John McElgunn (right) were both made partners at RSHP in 2016
"Leisure space – public space – is at the very root of democracy, and architecture is about democracy"

As RSHP completes its latest cultural project, we speak to two of its partners about why Richard Rogers isn’t leaving his succession to chance

Catalogue Gallery
Click on a catalogue to view it online
To advertise in our catalogue gallery: call +44(0)1462 431385
features
Mary Celeste Beall has kept her husband’s vision alive
"Sam was such a champion for the team, and my goal is simply to carry that same torch"

As Blackberry Mountain resort opens in Tennessee, we find out why the project is a deeply personal one for owner Mary Celeste Beall

Ritz-Carlton Reserve Dorado Beach
Scott Lee became president of SB Architects in 2000. Tracy Lee founded TLee Spas in 2015
"We design to connect the guest to the place, positioning people at the centre of the design"

Architect Scott Lee and spa consultant Tracey Lee on marrying the worlds of design and wellness in a series of interesting projects

The museum features 3,400 square metres of archaelogical gardens
Elizabeth de Portzamparc
"We need to stop the destruction of our world through predatory practices. We need to think of the future"

The architect behind Nimes’ Musée de la Romanité on designing to counter loneliness and the need for more cultural buildings

features
"We’ve designed the space so that the atmosphere is intimate"

Les Mills’ new studio spaces at its iconic Auckland City Gym showcase a trend away from masculine ‘grunty’ gyms to something altogether different

The Center for Sustainable Landscapes in Pittsburgh, US
José Almiñana
"We are committed to designing evocative landscapes informed by the best environmental science"

The Andropogon principal on pushing the boundaries of landscape design for the benefit of humans and nature

The book was published in 2019 by RIBA Publishing
Elina Grigoriou
"Temperature, noise level and colour affect our stress levels. As designers we should be asking ourselves, how do these things match up?"

The London-based interior designer and wellness expert hopes her new book will help readers understand how to design with wellbeing in mind

cladkit product news
Diamond balloon concept merges tourist attraction with advertising billboard
Magali Robathan
A group of Dutch engineers have presented a new attractions concept that combines a flying observation cabin with LED digital ...
Jaffe Holden helps bring Academy Museum of Motion Pictures alive
Jaffe Holden provided architectural acoustics for the Academy Museum
Magali Robathan
Acoustical consulting firm Jaffe Holden provided architectural acoustics and audio/video design services for the recently opened Academy Museum of Motion ...
Fabio Alemanno Design uses elegant semi-precious stones to create memorable spa experiences
Alemanno believes the stones are well-placed in the spa environment thanks to their capacity to positively support physical and mental health
Megan Whitby
Fabio Alemanno Design has expanded its collection with semi-precious stones to enhance spas, wellness facilities, hotels and private residences. The ...
cladkit product news
Eden project uses drones to spell out climate change warning
Magali Robathan
Almost 300 drones were used to signal an environmental message above the Eden Project’s biomes, during the UN Climate Change ...
LianTronics’ glasses-free 3D Star Trek LED screen attracts attention
Magali Robathan
LianTronics’ giant curved LED wall with stunning glasses-less 3D spaceship display effect has attracted many on the street of Chengdu, ...
Christie laser projectors power new Five Senses Bubble dome theatre
The dome aims to integrate technology with arts and culture
Magali Robathan
Christie® GS Series 1DLP® laser projectors are delivering vivid and lifelike visuals in a new dome theatre located in Xiong’an ...
cladkit product news
Cosm unveils Experience Centre with ‘one of a kind’ LED dome
The new Experience Centre houses a 20m LED dome
Magali Robathan
Cosm, a global technology company that builds end-to-end solutions for immersive experiences, has unveiled its Experience Centre which houses a ...
Móz Designs columns anchor the world’s largest indoor aquarium
The design of the columns was inspired by the sea
Magali Robathan
After a two-year renovation, Oakland-based metal experts Móz Designs have unveiled their inclusion in Georgia Aquarium’s new shark gallery. Located ...
Alberto Apostoli and Newform collaborate to launch the A.Zeta showerhead
The showerhead offers two modes; rainfall or waterfall
Megan Whitby
Italian architect Alberto Apostoli has renewed his partnership with Newform – an Italian wellness company – and designed A.Zeta. A.Zeta ...
x
Sign up with CLAD for regular news updates
Technogym
Technogym