Paris is the “City of Light.” New York has the Brooklyn Bridge and the Lower Manhattan skyline. But London? In the wee hours, it can get quite dark down by the river.
The River Thames has some very elegant bridges, most of them dating from the 1800s. But campaigners behind a new design competition say this beauty is being lost at sunset. The crossings aren’t illuminated fully like those on the Seine or the East River.
The Illuminated River contest recently revealed six proposals for lighting up London’s 17 central bridges. They range from illuminating the bridge underbellies at low-tide (and the elevations of bridges at high tide) to a concept that plants dozens of lamp-posts in the river itself. Some of the concepts involve color, projecting images on bridges, or more stately, minimal white beams.
“The river’s name derives from the Celtic word tamesas, which means dark, and sadly this is what happens to our river at night time. This important and beautiful artery becomes a river of darkness, a place that few can enjoy,” Hannah Rothschild, creator of the contest, told the Guardian.
Building the final design is expected to cost about $25 million, all of it from private sources. (The organizers have raised about half already). “This project will bring light, energy, beauty, and recreation to the river and at the flick of a switch, transform the city at night,” Rothschild says, in a press release.