A new public staircase with intricately designed curved bowstring truss metal screens overhanging the north bank of the river at London Bridge, has been designed by bere:architects for the City of London in collaboration with Capita Bobrowski and Littlehampton Welding. Final stakeholder negotiations are underway with construction due to start in 2012.
The new structure will form a link between London Bridge and the City Riverside Walkway, replacing an existing staircase nearby. The existing route is largely obscured from public view and suffers serious problems due to the fear of crime.
By contrast, the new staircase will provide a clearly defined link for pedestrians approaching at bridge level or along the Riverside Walk. It will also provide raised viewing platforms suspended dramatically over the water, inviting users to pause and enjoy downstream views over the historic Pool of London, with explanatory interpretation panels.
The scheme also includes a new footbridge at walkway level. Many technical and local challenges have been overcome as a result of design negotiations with numerous stakeholders including the Port of London Authority and the Environment Agency. The staircase will be bracketed from the new footbridge which will in turn be anchored by means of deep piles over a London underground tunnel that passes under the Thames directly beneath the new staircase. Delicately detailed woven stainless steel mesh screens threaded through bowstring trusses in a precise geometric relationship have been designed to provide privacy to nearby offices.
Several years ago the City of London commissioned improvements to the north Thames Riverside Walk to improve public access and enjoyment of the river and to create a better environment for wildlife. bere:architects have been involved in this project from the start, assisting the City’s term-contractors with designs to improve accessibility along the City Riverside Walkway. A new landscaped route was completed adjacent to St Magnus House in 2009, incorporating a gentle ramp to create a seamless progression along the river front, accessible to all. This forms part of a bigger vision of developing clear waymarking and easy access along the entire length of the City’s river banks, providing recreation space with panoramic views through a series of pocket gardens between Blackfriars Bridge and Tower Bridge.