Living Bridge

An invitation from Peabody to see how the structure of a footbridge over the River Lea could be expanded to create a site for housing from thin air, gave us the chance to prove that efficient, rational construction can meet social need, provide infrastructure and achieve beauty. Our proposal won a MIPIM Future Project Award.

The scheme has received the award for Best Residential Project in the inaugural Architectural Review Future Project Prize, which recognises the most innovative architectural designs from around the world that are set to shape the future of our towns and cities.

Designed for housing association The Peabody Trust, and developer Urban Space Management, the Living Bridge is a possible solution to London’s current housing crisis and the severe shortage of development sites. This elegant ten-storey clear span structure would create a landmark gateway to the Lea Valley, combining 92 homes with the need for both a bus and a pedestrian crossing over the river.

Each apartment would be manufactured off-site and craned into place, exploiting the benefits of prefabricated building methods and the lightweight nature of steel-framed modular construction.

Central to the design is a secure and sheltered communal ‘winter garden’ for use by residents. The housing is formed from two curved terraces, which are stepped back from a shared deck raised 12.7m above sea level. Some of the apartments would also have the benefit of private roof terraces.

“I have been interested in inhabited bridges for some time. Developing the concept of a residential bridge structure based on volumetric construction with Cartwright Pickard has been stimulating and instructive, and is positive proof that ideas are at the heart of successful building projects.”

Dickon Robinson, Director of Development, Peabody