Plans were initially mooted in June this year to create a garden-like pedestrian bridge linking Temple and the Southbank, designed by Heatherwick in conjunction with engineering company Arup.
The bridge looks to form a major new green space for the capital using shrubs, trees, plants, benches and ‘intimate walkways’, according to the Garden Bridge Trust, which will oversee the creation of the bridge.
Heatherwick has now unveiled plans that show the bridge as supported by two columns in the Thames, which will together support ‘1000 tonnes of garden’. He describes these as a seamless continuation of the visible garden, acting as ‘two planters sitting in the river’.
At its widest point, the bridge will measure 30m across, using a non-linear path that Heatherwick says will allow walkers to ‘peel off for a tryst’, should they wish.
He says, ‘In a world where ambition is manifested vertically…[if we can bring] the humbleness of the little worms and the mulchy smell of the earth into the centre of the city, there’s something special we can do.’
The Garden Bridge landscape will be created by designer and horticulturalist Dan Pearson, who says he looks to create ‘magic in every footfall’ with a ‘naturalistic space you can get lost in’.
Heatherwick has been discussing the plans with actress Joanna Lumley, who is championing the bridge project, which she describes as being ‘like a tiara in the head of our fabulous city’.
She says, ‘Like an old hippie I walked about with this dream in my knapsack. Now [with Heatherwick] we’re starting to unravel it.’
The initial announcement estimated the project would cost £60 million, though plans unveiled at press conference this morning have put the figure at £150 million to design and build the bridge. The trust says that it is in the process of obtaining charitable status, and that the project ‘has already won considerable interest from private donors’.
The total cost will need to be met by private sponsors, with public fundraising starting next year according to the trust’s chairman Lord Mervyn Davies.
The public consultation for the plans runs from today until 20 December this year, encouraging people to give their suggestions for the scheme in order to inform plans prior to the submission of planning approval in the first quarter of next year. According to a spokesman for the trust, it is hoped the bridge will be completed in 2017.