An additional award for Architecture as Landscaping at the 2014 GAGAs was given to Peter Beard_LANDROOM and Jane Wernick Associates for Rainham Trackway.
Rainham Trackway is a new foot and cycle bridge connecting Rainham village with the traditional grazing marshes of the Thames floodplain. The Trackway links to the existing HS1 foot and cycle bridge, providing a direct, gently ramping path down to marsh level, dropping some 8 metres over a length of 200 metres.
The first 120 metres of the path is carried by a new elevated deck, and the remaining 80 metres on a new earth embankment. In addition to the main path route, a viewing deck is provided at the highest point of the structure giving clear views out over the marshes.
The gradient of the path is determined by the level of the existing HS1 crossing and the need to allow clearance for emergency vehicles accessing it. The gradient of the elevated deck section is 1-in-28 which makes it welcoming to walkers, cyclists and others with limited mobility, including wheelchair users.
The Trackway has been integrated into two major strategic path routes – the London Loop and Sustrans National Cycle Route 13.
The Trackway meets official highways standards, fulfilling a projected design life requirement of 120 years. The main deck is comprised of a galvanized steel ‘ladder’ structure which runs the entire length of the bridge.
The absence of any structural members above deck level, combined with the use of a visually lightweight galvanized steel mesh guarding, creates a sense of openness to the upper part of the structure.
This openness, together with the gentle ramping of the deck, creates a new kind of public space as a threshold to the marshes. It fits in elegantly, not just as an enhancement but becoming part of the landscape.
Images © Peter Beard_LANDROOM. Aerial images by Storm Photography