Moxon Architects and CampbellReith consulting engineers have submitted a planning application to the London Borough of Hounslow for a new footbridge beneath the existing Grade II listed Barnes Bridge, in Dukes Meadows, Chiswick. The proposal responds to a call from the council to build a new public pedestrian bridge linking two sections of the Thames Path, incorporating landscaped landings at either end.
Part of a wider scheme enhancing one of London’s busiest parks, the footbridge will cater to all types of users, allowing access to wheelchairs, mobility scooters, and those with buggies. By enhancing the Thames Path, the new footbridge will provide additional leisure options to the wider area, encouraging recreation and sustainable modes of travel. The bridge also responds to the high volume of rowing traffic along this section of the river, anticipating views to and from rowers at all tide levels.
The structure is a ‘half through’ truss form with distinctive bracing members angled to maximise oblique views to the river. The meandering alignment will encourage views up and downstream as well as into the adjacent Dukes Hollow nature reserve which is one of the few remaining natural tidal habitats in London.
In addition to linking the Thames Path and providing access to the adjacent sports grounds and rowing clubs, the design also respects the surrounding ecology by carefully positioning a minimum number of supports along the river bank. Through off-site prefabrication and river transport the project aims to reduce disruption as well as carbon consumption during construction. With energy efficient lighting and robust finishes such as stainless steel and aluminium, the project will anticipate and reduce the maintenance required over its expected 100+ year lifetime. The impact of the resulting footbridge will be felt far beyond the project’s boundaries as it enhances the already cherished Dukes Meadows.
“The intention is to develop an affordable, efficient and honest solution that is easy to construct and pleasing to use,” said Ezra Groskin of Moxon Architects. “With a modest and refined appearance, the bridge will sit respectfully below the existing landmark structure, referencing its form without competing for attention.”
“Dukes Meadows is an incredible asset for Hounslow, achieving over one million visits per year,” said Councillor Steve Curran, Leader of Hounslow Council. “The Council is keen to improve the site, particularly in terms of resolving the issue of a railway line that severed the Thames path. The Thames path is an important feature and the proposed bridge will encourage access and usage. The new Dukes Meadows footbridge is an iconic structure that will no doubt add character to the area and, we hope, be appreciated for generations to come. The Council has worked very closely with the Port of London Authority and other key partners to make sure our improvements reflect the London regional strategy and its vision for the River Thames.”