BY TOBY PORTER
A humble bridge best known to staff and clients of New Covent Garden Market is to be given a facelift by top architects.
Designers will hope to spruce up the drab concrete span, which carries trains to and from Clapham Junction over Thessaly Road, Battersea, after a competition forming part of the London Festival of Architecture.
The winners will be unveiled as part of the festival, which takes place in June, as judges look for a scheme which can turn the bridge into a new gateway for a regenerated Nine Elms area, where many billions of pounds is being spent creating up to 20,000 new homes.
The competition, which is open to architects, designers, artists and students, is an opportunity to transform the tired underpass into an attractive and user-friendly route for pedestrians and cyclists.
The design competition has been conceived by the LFA and Wandsworth council to improve a key route between Battersea Park Road and Wandsworth Road for pedestrians and cyclists, and to revitalise the routes to Nine Elms and Vauxhall.
A shortlist of six practices will be announced in March and the winning team will be revealed in May. It will be awarded £20,000 to develop a design that will be eligible to be constructed and installed beneath the Thessaly Road railway bridge in time for the 2019 London Festival of Architecture.
The overall budget for the project is £200,000 and the competition is being judged by an expert panel.
An LFA spokesman said: “London’s built environment is full of overlooked and unprepossessing spaces like Thessaly Road railway bridge, and this competition is a brilliant opportunity to show how thoughtful and imaginative design can transform the mundane into something quite special.
“At the London Festival of Architecture we are grateful to Wandsworth council for providing this opportunity to showcase architectural and design excellence in London, and demonstrate the power of design in transforming London’s public realm.”
Wandsworth council leader Cllr Ravi Govindia said: “We are delighted to be working with the London Festival of Architecture in finding an innovative solution to improving the bridge space in Thessaly Road and I am really looking forward to seeing the winning design. We have a long-standing association with the LFA and it’s good to be in partnership with them again on this project.
“The Thessaly Road underpass is much used by people in the local area but I think it’s fair to say that it’s definitely in need of a facelift. This competition is a great opportunity to do just that, and knowing the creative talent that is out there, I am sure we will find a design that will revitalise this key route through Nine Elms.”
Information about the design competition, including a detailed competition brief – can be found at www.londonfestivalofarchitecture.org
The deadline for first stage submissions is February 23.