Fledgling practice Metropolitan Workshop makes its mark with plans for remarkable tourist attraction.
London’s north and south river banks could be linked by a cable car system, under plans drawn up by two former directors of architect MacCormac Jamieson Prichard.
The centrepiece of the scheme, called Thames Web, would be a platform raised 30 m above the middle of the Thames in Westminster. It would be connected to Victoria Embankment in the north and to the South Bank by cables.
The central platform, which would be rented out to an entertainment group, most likely a bar, would be connected to the bank by four 65 m masts. Passengers would board a spherical capsule, modelled on a champagne bubble, which would take them to the bar or for a sightseeing trip of the capital.
The concept has been devised by architects Neil Deely and David Prichard, who have set up the practice Metropolitan Workshop after careers with MJP. MJP won the commission to masterplan the 2 km Victoria Embankment this year.
Metropolitan Workshop has yet to find a backer but is working with engineer Adams Kara Taylor on the designs. The original concept was worked up for the RIBA Urban Space by Design competition last month.
Deely said the scheme, which is still at concept stage, would provide a pedestrian link across the river.
He said: “It’s flying a kite. We’ve been interested in the idea for a long time, and it’s something that the mayor may be interested in, with the increased number of tourists likely from the Olympics. It could provide an everyday river crossing.”
Deely added that the light catenary structure of the cables would be cheap and would not be an eyesore. He said: “Normal bridge costs would be prohibitive but because of the light structure it wouldn’t be too much in terms of capital cost.”
Metropolitan Workshop, which has 15 staff, also has projects at Indescon Court in London’s Isle of Dogs, several schemes in Dublin and a masterplanning project at Bjorvika, near Oslo in Norway.