Wednesday, 29 April 2009

Roll up, roll up
The redevelopment of Paddington Canal Basin has been going on for some time and has not been shy of the odd dose of hype. Bringing water to the West End is one of the developer's straplines. I thought the water was already there!
The bridges are causing quite a stir, particularly the roll-up bridge designed by Thomas Heatherwick. This was opened in 2004 and spans an inlet from the canal basin underneath the new M & S headquarters. It is truly elegant and ingenious, using hydraulic rams in the handrail to roll up the bridge like a scorpion's tail but if you want to read some really poetic journalism go to the Observer site.

"Putting the fun into functional"

It is a shame that this bridge does not actually have a function. It is rolled up at noon each Friday so that it can be cleaned with a jet wash but no boats ever use the inlet and so one is left with the feeling that it is just another ego trip for the architect and developer.

There is also another bridge on the development which apparently opens by means of a corkscrew-like arrangement. I have not met anyone who has seen this happen.

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