The competition offered a chance to explore the concept of inhabiting a bridge on the River Thames. This transitory busy structure could be made a home, a business or a place of enjoyment or worship. We concentrated initially on exploring the historical facts and the stories surrounding the bridge, and the different lives and facets it has taken over the centuries. These enabled us to form concepts that could be taken through into the design.
Through time, London Bridge has taken on many forms. We used some of the interesting facts to influence the design, for example:
‘The fourth bridge was destroyed by a whirling tornado’.
We have characterised this little known fact in the three towers that could occupy the centre of the bridge, mimicking the 3 girders of the existing structure from which it is currently formed. The external envelope wraps around the towers as a swirling ribbon and represents the movement of the tornado.
‘The sixth bridge had a chapel located near the centre of the bridge’.
A place of worship is somewhere peaceful or secluded for people to use in their busy, bustling lives. The centre of a tornado is said to be the quietest part. The modern interpretation of a place of worship could be a gym or fitness studio at the base of the three towers.
‘Heads on spikes like grotesque statues – William Wallace’s head was one’.
Wallace’s tartan could form the basis for the creation of the structure, and the design of the cladding shrouding the inhabited bridge could be an interesting quirk to incorporate.