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Garden Bridge Trust: The Latest Architecture and News

London's Garden Bridge Project Officially Axed After £37 Million in Public Costs

The saga of London’s controversial Thames Garden Bridge project has finally come to end, as the Garden Bridge Trust has announced the official “closure of the project” after losing the support of the public and London Mayor Sadiq Khan.

"It is with great regret that Trustees have concluded that without Mayoral support the project cannot be delivered,” said Lord Mervyn Davies, Chairman of the Garden Bridge Trust in a statement released today.

“We are incredibly sad that we have not been able to make the dream of the Garden Bridge a reality and that the Mayor does not feel able to continue with the support he initially gave us.” 

Courtesy of Garden Bridge TrustCourtesy of Garden Bridge TrustCourtesy of Garden Bridge TrustCourtesy of Garden Bridge Trust+ 9

London's Garden Bridge Project Should be Scrapped, Report Finds

London’s troubled Garden Bridge proposal may have finally been dealt its final blow, after a new report by senior Labour MP Margaret Hodge concluded that the project should be cancelled now rather than risk pumping more public money into the controversial scheme. Conceived of by Thomas Heatherwick Studio in 2013 and approved by the Westminster Council in December of the following year, the over £46 million of public funding that has already gone toward the project would not be able to be recovered.

Courtesy of Garden Bridge TrustCourtesy of Garden Bridge TrustCourtesy of Garden Bridge TrustCourtesy of Garden Bridge Trust+ 9

UK National Audit Office Presents Findings Pertaining to Heatherwick's Garden Bridge in London

The latest chapter in the saga of London's Garden Bridge, which has seen counter proposals and reactionary follies alike, has revealed major concerns relating to its funding mechanisms. As reported by the Architects' Journal, new findings from the United Kingdom's National Audit Office (NAO), which has studied the decision taken by the Department for Transport's decision to grant £30 million ($37 million) of funding to the Garden Bridge Trust, has discovered that the "sum [£30 million] was provided following a commitment from [the] then Chancellor George Osborne, and despite the DfT’s conclusion that there was ‘a significant risk that the Bridge could represent poor value for money’."

Allies and Morrison Propose Alternative to Contested Garden Bridge

Thomas Heatherwick’s Garden Bridge project has been under fire since plans were announced in 2013, drawing skepticism of the fairness of the competition process, and even being called “nothing but a wasteful blight.” Last month, London's new mayor Sadiq Khan gave a lukewarm endorsement of the project, noting that since £37.7m of the £60m allocated by the government has already been spent, scrapping the project now would end up costing taxpayers more than going forward with it.

The current predicament has inspired architects Allies and Morrison to design an alternative option – one that could both save the taxpayers money and create a new greenway spanning the Thames. Many of the complaints directed toward the original design have been associated with the cost of building a new bridge that would serve limited transportation needs; Allies and Morrison eliminate this issue by simply placing a garden pathway onto an existing piece of infrastructure, the nearby Blackfriars Bridge.

London's Garden Bridge Saved by Funding Cut

Thomas Heatherwick's controversial Garden Bridge in London has regained popular support amongst officials after a significant cut in funding. The Transport for London (TfL) – the authority in charge of the Garden Bridge program, which was approved last year – has reduce the amount of taxpayer money from £30 to £10 million, alleviating concerns over public cost. Now, all that's needed for the project to start construction is an approved amendment to the site's lease in Lambeth. It is expected to break ground next year, despite lingering concerns over maintenance costs and use restrictions.

"A Folly For London" Pokes Serious Fun at London's Architectural Troubles

London is in the throes of an architectural identity crisis, compounded by a severe shortage of housing. While politicians and public figures debate various solutions to the city's design dilemmas, a London-based artist has conceived of a "satirical competition for architecture of the absurd." Known as A Folly for London, the free open-call for solutions to London's architectural conundrums was created in response to Arup and Heatherwick Studio's proposal for the yet to be built, and highly controversial, Garden Bridge.

Unlike traditional architectural competitions, A Folly for London sought to ignite debate on the current state of architecture in London. Presented with a distinctly British sense of humour, the competition received more than fifty entries. Winning proposals include the systematic burning of London's forests, construction of a massive inhabitable light bulb and the creation of a catacomb of submerged signature double-decker buses at the centre of the River Thames.

See the winners of "A Folly for London" after the break

The Bulb. Image Courtesy of A Folly for LondonThe Green Fire of London. Image Courtesy of A Folly for LondonThe Bulb. Image Courtesy of A Folly for LondonFloating Tidal Exploded Bus Maze. Image Courtesy of A Folly for London+ 7

Transport for London Orders Review of the Garden Bridge Procurement Process

As reported in the Architects' Journal, Transport for London (TfL) – the authority in charge of the Garden Bridge programme, which was approved last year – have ordered a review into the procurement process leading up to Heatherwick's selection to design a new bridge spanning the Thames. Sir Peter Hendy, Commissioner for TfL, will "review of the overall process of procurement of the design contracts, the findings of which [will be published] in full." This statement follows the revelation that Heatherwick Studio’s estimated total price (which was wrongly redacted in response to a Freedom of Information request made by the AJ last February) "was far higher than its two fellow bidders in the 2013 invited concept design competition." Full information about the request is detailed here.

Arup Reveals Image Of Heatherwick's Garden Bridge 'Cupro-Nickel' Cladding

Arup have released a new image of the proposed copper-nickel alloy cladding that will adorn Heatherwick Studio's Garden Bridge in London. According to a report by the Architects' Journal, the "concrete structure will be coated in 'cupro-nickel', from its feet on the riverbed up to the base of the balustrades on the bridge deck." The copper will be donated from Glencore, a multi-national mining company, forming "a protective skin to the carbon steel structure giving it a maintenance free 120-year life, protecting the bridge from river and environmental corrosion." More than 240 tonnes of the metal alloy, which often finds use in medical equipment and ship propellers, will be used.