London-based architecture practice NBBJ has released a concept for ‘Frost Flowers’, a series of natural ice rinks on the River Thames in London, UK that would restore a once-regular event to the river.
For centuries until the early 1830s, when the original London Bridge limited the flow of the river and caused it to freeze over for large parts of the winter, the Frost Fair was a reoccurring citywide celebration. In celebration of the holiday season, and with an eye toward the current climate talks underway in Paris, NBBJ has taken inspiration from this once great London event to return the winter spirit to the capital.
The scheme proposes retractable jetties that would unfurl into large circular discs. Submerged slightly below the water level, these pan-like objects would isolate a thin basin of water from the flow of the river and enable the water to naturally freeze. This surface would become the site of a renewed Frost Fair bringing public ice-skating, markets and exhibitions to the people of London.
The Thames has seen intent interest in 2015 with proposed bridges, floating villages and swimming pools. This concept aims to restore public recreational activity to the surface of the river, in an area sheltered from commercial shipping lanes, with an annual event that would reconnect London to its heritage.
Created from a simple foldaway structure, the project could be easily installed and adapted to multiple locations throughout London and potentially many other city rivers around the world.