Arup braces as Heatherwick unveils design for £60m London garden bridge

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With the wobbles of the Foster inspired Millennium bridge firmly behind them,  Arup have carried out the engineering on another Thames crossing, this time a Thomas Heatherwick,  post-Olympic creation.

The Highline-esque pedestrian garden bridge which spans the River Thames from Temple to the Southbank has been has been described as “sensational” by TV celebrity Joanna Lumley, who campaigned for the bridge.

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Thomas Heatherwick commented, “With its rich heritage of allotments, gardens, heathland, parks and squares, London is one of the greenest cities in the world. The idea is simple – to connect north and south London with a garden.”

Transport for London (TfL) selected the design after a tendering process and said it hoped the bridge, featuring grasses, trees and wild flowers would create a new walking route from the Southbank to Covent Garden and Soho.

Visualisations of the bridge show the structure widens and narrows across its span. It will be planted with indigenous British and London species.

One of Heatherwick's earliest designs, the highly acclaimed rolling bridge over Paddington Basin

One of Heatherwick’s earliest designs, the highly acclaimed rolling bridge over Paddington Basin, engineering by SKM Anthony Hunt.


The on-going design work for the garden bridge is in close development with Arup and will not be finalised until mid-July. The bridge requires permission from both Westminster and Lambeth councils.

Arup went on to develop the damping system used in the retro fix for the Millennium Bridge into a sophisticated anti-seismic solution for high rise buildings, a replacement for the traditional counter-weight system but will still probably be bracing themselves for some comparisons to their previous pedestrian Thames crossing.

Michael Hammond