Barmy bridges – 3

This week saw the opening of a new river crossing, the London Emirates Air Line Cable Car, with its 34 cabins which soon no doubt will be renamed ‘Boris Buoys’ in keeping with London’s tradition of giving new transport a Boris prefix:

‘Boris Bikes’, ‘Boris Bus’ and had Boris got his way a few years ago a ‘Boris Bridge’.

It would have been the first time London had a bridge with residential and commercial properties since 1832 when the medieval London Bridge was pulled down. That famous bridge completed in 1209 in the reign of King John, contained dozens of packed-in houses and shops which as the bridge became further developed congestion meant crossings could take more than an hour.

[T]he ‘Living Bridge’ was first mooted in 2009. The £80 million crossing was to have been constructed between Waterloo and Blackfriars. Based on designs by the French architect Antoine Grumbach shown at the Royal Academy’s fine exhibition of Living Bridges 16 years previously.

They envisioned a bridge suspended from twin 35-storey towers on the north side of the river, containing flats with views over the city with a residential tower at one end, and shops cafes and bars along the middle, with a greenhouse at the far end.

Called the Living Bridge, it also included proposals for hedge, trees and greenhouses, alongside spaces for live concerts and a ‘topiary café’.

Not so much the elegance of Florence’s Ponte Vecchio with its shops more an upmarket garden centre.

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