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Thessaly Road Railway Bridge Thessaly Road Railway Bridge, with Battersea Power Station Chimneys Behind. Photo: Luke O'Donovan

Architectural Competition to create a Gateway to Nine Elms
The London Festival of Architecture and Wandsworth Council announce a competition to revive the Thessaly Road Railway Bridge – Gateway to Nine Elms and the new US Embassy

The London Festival of Architecture (LFA) and Wandsworth Council have launched a design competition aimed at improving the Thessaly Road Railway Bridge - an important gateway to the new Nine Elms regeneration area which includes the new United States Embassy.

The competition, which is open to architects, designers, artists and students, aims to redevelop the underpass to create a more vibrant, colorful entranceway to Nine Elms, an area which has already benefitted from massive investment from a variety of developers, including the US Embassy, which opened on January 16th on 33 Nine Elms Lane. One of the important aims of the competition is to ensure Thessaly Road offers improved access to the area for pedestrians and cyclists. As a key route between Battersea Park Road and Wandsworth Road, the intention is to highlight that imagination and creative thinking can transform the built environment in London to the benefit of local people. Leader of Wandsworth Council, Ravi Govindia, who has been part of the process to redevelop Nine Elms, noted that "The Thessaly Road underpass is much used by people in the local area but I think it’s fair to say that it’s definitely in need of a facelift. This competition is a great opportunity to do just that and knowing the creative talent that is out there, I am sure we will find a design that will revitalise this key route through Nine Elms."

Information on the competition and the design brief can be found at the London Festival of Architecture's website http://www.londonfestivalofarchitecture.org/, with a first deadline for submissions of February 23rd, 2018. The shortlisted six designs will then be announced in March, with the winning team announced in May and awarded £20,000 to develop a design that will be eligible to be constructed and installed beneath the Thessaly Road Railway Bridge as part of the London Festival of Architecture in 2019. The overall budget for the project is £200,000.

The Director of the LFA, Tamsie Thomson, also described the competition as a "brilliant opportunity to show how thoughtful and imaginative design can transform the mundane into something quite special".

The transformation of Nine Elms has certainly been eye opening, and for those now visiting the US Embassy, the changes look to be continuing, with additional changes to the road layout planned to improve the area for pedestrians, cyclists and busses, and the planned opening of two new London Underground stations in 2020.

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