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The River's edge - a missed opportunity

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Thursday 24 June 2004 9.26am

I quite like the sound of this.

If I was mayor... (daydreaming)

I would build two such islands in the Thames - a small one West of Tower Bridge and a much larger one a bit further East and keep the latter public access. I would also turn Battersea Power Sation into a huge park (greening over the original structure to create a series of hanging gardens) and create three new bridges - including a park-bridge lik ethe on efuture systems were proposing a few years ago.

Hope you lot don't mind paying a wee bit more council tax.
Thursday 24 June 2004 10.08am
IIRC the original plans for the new pedestrian Hungerford Bridges (aka Golden Jubilee Bridges) included two "pontoons" linked through the arch in the Surrey Pier (the brick tower of the original Brunel suspension bridge), and with small bridges to the South Bank

I'm not sure why they were dropped.

Edited to add:

It seems that they were dropped because of the massive costs incurred to redesign the bridge to avoid piling next to unexploded bombs in the riverbed -but they could still be added back.

"Not everything is quite as Lifschutz originally wanted it. Walking the bridge on a perfect sunny morning, he pulls out the plans which show his original spur bridges branching off in two directions on the south bank - one going directly to the Eye, the other to the Festival Hall and points east. Apart from making more direct connections, these would have had the effect of shortening the apparent length of the crossing by providing more variety. Big new bridge landings for the spurs have however been built in the river, and the suspension masts form gateways at this point to indicate where they should go. In the future, they can be added. But as we know, the future takes a long time to happen in Britain.

There are other losses, mostly due to cost-saving, partly to security worries. For instance Lifschutz - one of the more inventive of our younger architects, and one of the least inclined to settle into a middle age of bland office-block design - has also been denied his transverse connection between the two new bridges. This would have passed beneath the railway through the mysterious chambers of Brunel's “Surrey pier” standing out in the river. So a further potential richness has been postponed, perhaps for ever. "

Edited 1 times. Last edit at 24 June 2004 10.11am by Lang Rabbie.
Thursday 24 June 2004 4.52pm

sounds great - imaginative architecture which makes the river more accessible (sigh).
Friday 25 June 2004 5.56pm

I'm absolutely certain that today's architecs and engineers could resolve that problem. There are lots of options like lifting bridges and swing bridges which would be equally practical solutions.

One aspect of this idea that really interests me is, 'how big could such an island be?" The Thames is pretty wide and an island could stretch from, say, Ken's Castle up past Southwark Bridge (integrate the bridge into the idea) then stop short of Blackfriars Bridge. Plenty of space for new parkland, cultural centres, galleries, (housing would be way too controversial - who would be allowed to live there? Maybe it should only be social housing) retail, theatre space, performance space. A truly cultural heart and green lung for the city.

Where's my spade?

Saturday 26 June 2004 8.35am

I think "islands in the stream" would be brilliant.

Every now and again (last night was an example) I see ocean liners in the pool of london. I'd like to see that more often.

Do you think today's technology is up to creating floating islands, which could move up and down the Thames, anchoring in different paces and linked to different events?

I think we would want boats to take people to the islands, not bridges, as that would liven up the river.

If I win the lottery tonight I am going to commision a pirate ship (18th century carib'n style) . I would then sail it up and down the river full of paying guests. We would drink rum and sing songs and do bungee jumping plank walking. I think I can even see a safe way to do keel hauling (small monorail under ship and light breathing equipment)

Heather Pindar (bit over-excited at the idea of a pirate ship)
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