The Garden Bridge will be far more than a footbridge with a few trees. It will be a new pedestrian river crossing in the heart of London, with a 5800m² deck incorporating a 2500 m² planting area for wildlife-friendly tree and plant species.
Arup’s multidisciplinary team has worked closely with Thomas Heatherwick and his studio to develop buildable and cost-effective solutions to realise his design vision. One of the project’s primary challenges was the choice of material for the exterior of the ship-like form. The bridge’s steel and concrete structure will be encased in a thin layer of marine alloy copper-nickel. This will be rollbonded to steel to create a corrosion-resistant structural skin. Arup’s materials specialists selected the warm-coloured alloy for its attractive finish and anti-corrosive properties.
Of equal importance has been creating an environment that will allow the bridge’s garden to flourish, becoming a home for species of varying sizes. Significant soil depths, particularly over the two piers, will allow plants to become established. Arup’s landscape architects and ecologists have developed the design in conjunction with garden designer Dan Pearson and with advice from the Royal Horticultural Society, to ensure species are suited to the bridge environment and are provided with the right soil conditions.
The 366m Garden Bridge will be a new piece of transport infrastructure spanning a navigable watercourse. Arup’s team has worked closely with authorities such as Transport for London, the Port of London Authority and local governments. On the north side, the Garden Bridge will land atop an existing underground metro station serving the North Bank area, which has been earmarked for regeneration. By creating a new link to this district, the Garden Bridge will act as a catalyst for greater cohesion and activity within the North Bank and improve pedestrian access within central London.