Green space key to reforging missing link in London's Vauxhall and Nine Elms

Part of the erect architecture with J&L Gibbons entry
Part of the erect architecture with J&L Gibbons entry

A worldwide hunt to find a new public realm vision for Vauxhall and Nine Elms has been narrowed down to three shortlisted entries.

A total of 100 entries from 21 countries included bright and bold ideas for the area increasingly being known as VoHo and its rapidly transforming neighbour Nine Elms.

These included a lido and floating gardens in the Thames, hot air balloons, orchards, outside entertainment venues and garden sky walks.

The competition, held by RIBA for the Vauxhall Business Improvement District (BID) Vauxhall One, is part of a desire by local businesses to provide the missing green link between New Covent Garden Market and Lambeth Palace, improve safety and quality of life.

London entrants erect architecture with J&L Gibbons, Cedric Chausse and Charlotte Porter, and Moscow company Blank Architects were all shortlisted.

They will now each be given £2,000 to draw up a detailed action plan and a final winner will be chosen in a month.

A student winner, a team from the University of Texas was also chosen and Vauxhall One hopes the university will continue to be involved in the project.

Public Realm and development director Chris Law said:

"Green space and the public realm are massively important because people have got to have somewhere to rest and relax in public. It’s called the missing link because the area, at the moment, is really grubby."

The judging panel, which includes the president of the Landscape Institute, Sue llman and the American Embassy’s head gardener Stephen Crisp examined the entries blind, to prevent any possible bias towards big companies.

The embassy is relocating to Nine Elms in 2017.

Law said Vauxhall One wants to build "pocket parks" and a "living link" through its zone to allow people to walk and cycle between Chelsea Bridge and the South Bank area. The whole area has been drawn together under The Nine Elms Vauxhall Partnership.

The area had an industrial landscape for most of the 20th century but The Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens was a popular leisure destination between the 17th and 19th centuries and more recently the area developed booming club scenes, particularly for the gay community.

The BID comprises 200 local businesses and was formed in 2012. All the competition entries can be seen at The Garden Museum and in and around Vauxhall until 22 April. For more information visit www.vauxhallone.co.uk.


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