After a fortnight of highs and lows for Thomas Heatherwick and British celebrity Joanna Lumley's campaign for a garden bridge stretching across London's River Thames, Rowan Moore of The Observer has meticulously described the project as "nothing but a wasteful blight." Although he acknowledges that support for the bridge "has been overwhelming," he argues that Heatherwick - though an "inventive and talented product designer" - has a past record in large scale design which "raises reasonable doubts about whether his bridge will be everything now promised."
For Moore, "by any reasonable interpretation of the relevant planning policies, the bridge should now be refused. It disrupts protected views of St Paul's [Cathedral] and has a huge impact on the open character of the Thames." In spite of the critics Heatherwick, who recently put forward plans for a $170million park off Manhattan's Hudson River shoreline, clearly has water bound ambitions beyond his home city.
It has also been called “a new public park space”, but last week it emerged that groups larger than eight will have to notify their intention to enter the bridge in advance, that there will be no public right of way across it, that it will close at midnight and that it will be taken over 12 times a year by money-earning events. Picnics are prohibited, as is anything resembling a political protest. Cycling is impossible and facilities for bike parking are limited. No additional lavatories are planned for the expected 7.1 million visitors a year. It requires the destruction of 30 mature trees and of existing green space.
Read the article in full here.