Design Competition Launched For New Thames Bridge

Linking Nine Elms with the Pimlico Embankment

An international competition to design a new bridge for pedestrians and cyclists across the River Thames in central London has been officially launched by Wandsworth Council.

Architects and engineers from across the globe are being challenged to create an inspiring, innovative design for the new river crossing linking the Nine Elms district with the Pimlico embankment to the north.

A high profile jury panel is being assembled to select the winning design. Confirmed panel members include Wandsworth Council leader Ravi Govindia, architect Graham Stirk, engineer Henry Bardsley and CABE chair Pam Alexander.

The competition will include public exhibitions and engagement with local communities on both sides of the river.

The Nine Elms to Pimlico bridge is part of a £1bn infrastructure package transforming the Nine Elms regeneration area into a well connected Zone One destination. As well as the bridge there are two new Northern Line tube stops, improvements to rail stations, two riverbus piers and a new network of footpaths, parks and cycle lanes.

A Transport for London feasibility study completed in 2013 found that there is a strong transport case for a new bridge at Nine Elms and it would provide pedestrians and cyclists with an attractive car-free alternative to Chelsea or Vauxhall Bridges.

Around £26million is committed to the project through the development of Nine Elms and the new design would be used to lever-in match funding.

Once the winning design is selected, it would need to go through the planning process before work could begin.

The 480 acre Nine Elms district is now well into the construction phase. The area is set to become a new cultural destination with iconic attractions like Battersea Power Station extending the life and vitality of the South Bank further west.

Ravi Govindia, leader of Wandsworth Council and co-chair of the Nine Elms Vauxhall Partnership, said: "This is a competition to find a team of brilliant engineers and architects to design a beautiful bridge spanning the Thames.

“This bridge has the potential to become an inspiring landmark, heralding the changes that are taking place south of the river and making vital connections to the north shore. The transport case is strong and this will be a valuable and sustainable addition to London’s transport infrastructure.

“This bridge needs to be designed to the highest quality standards; it must be inspiring, elegant and functional. The conundrum of creating a bridge that can be readily used by cyclists and pedestrians alike, that also provides adequate headroom for river traffic, is at the heart of the challenge.

“The design must also win the hearts and minds of Londoners, particularly the people living in the local area. Developing an inspiring, beautiful design will help us to leverage further funding and take the project to the next stage.”

The competition will have two stages:

  • Stage one will ask competitors to submit information about the people in their teams and to explain their approach to five design challenges.  A maximum of four teams will be selected for the next stage.
  • Stage two will be a competitive dialogue process during which the selected teams will be asked to develop their design ideas and meet with the Jury Panel, the technical advisors and members of the Residents Review Panel.  An honorarium will be paid to Stage 2 competitors.  At the end of stage two the winner will be selected.

The competition is being run by Colander and will follow OJEU public sector procurement processes so the successful design team can be appointed to the project when it becomes live.

Find out more and find out how to enter at

December 16, 2014