Nine Elms viaduct to get “Tunnel vision” makeover

A Victorian railway viaduct in Nine Elms, Battersea is set for a makeover based on designs by a set of east London architects.

The design, named “Tunnel vision” will revamp the Arch 42 archway, which leads to a viaduct which originally carried part of the South Western main line.

ProjectsOffice, an architect based in Bethnal Green was selected by Wandsworth Council in partnership with the London Festival of Architecture.

The site is located in the heart of the upcoming Nine Elms development and will serve as a thoroughfare to a tube station on the new Northern line extension scheduled to open this autumn.

James Christian, co-director and founder of Projects Office said he was delighted to be carrying out the project.

He added: “It’s a really great project. It’s exactly the sort of project that we like to do. 

“This is the dream brief and it fits perfectly with our philosophy as an architectural practice.”

“Tunnel visions” was chosen by a panel of expert judges after a virtual public exhibition in December.

Panel member David Bickle said: “Projects Office’s winning proposal effortlessly answered the brief and responded deftly to the complicated and challenging nature of the site.

“Both poetic and pragmatic it is a fitting theatrical response for a place that is experiencing dynamic and turbulent change.”

ON TRACK: The transformation is aimed to completed by this autumn.
Credit: Luke O’Donovan

The viaduct will connect communities on both sides of the railway, with the new US embassy located to the north, and New Covent Garden Market at the south end.

Christian’s key objective is to preserve the long heritage of the site while making the entrance less inconspicuous. 

He said: “The viaduct is very visually busy, so it’s not going to be immediately obvious where people walk through, which is why we wanted to create this very large singular archway to the south.

“So when someone is walking through the Sunday Market on the south side they should be able to just see where they have to go to get through the north side.

“On the north side it’s more about having a long view, which is why we have created the totem structure.”

Credit: Projects Office

The architects will also work with local schoolchildren through virtual workshops to design daggerboards, which will form part of the designs.

Christian said: “We focused on the language of railway stations, which have daggerboards, and we thought that would be a great way to bring the local community in.

“I think we want the community to feel like they own this and it reflects them and this is something that they have helped to bring to reality.”

Wandsworth cabinet member for Community Services and Open Spaces councillor Steffi Sutter said: “Projects Office have brought innovative thinking to this victorian railway arch with a bright design that taps into our local transport heritage while connecting communities on both sides of the railway line.

“People who live and work in the area have welcomed the news that this new route is being created and I know that our local schools and residents are really looking forward to getting involved.”

Main image credit: Projects Office.

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