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 deter¬mined 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