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Competition open call: Arch 42 Gateways


The LFA and Wandsworth Council have joined forces to transform a historic railway arch and a key public route leading to new London Underground stations at Nine Elms and Battersea Power Station, currently under construction as part of the Northern Line Extension. Today sees the launch of an open call giving architects, landscape architects, designers and artists the opportunity to create new gateways at the entrances of ‘Arch 42’, improving the visibility of the new route and connecting the existing and emerging neighbourhoods around the railway line.



Arch 42 is one of a series of arches forming a section of the Victorian railway viaduct carrying the South Western main line into Waterloo station. Currently presenting a significant barrier to movement in the local area, it will be opened up to create a vital new route between Nine Elms station, Nine Elms Lane and the River Thames, and linking up with pedestrian and cycle routes running through Nine Elms. The new gateways to Arch 42 will form part of significant public realm improvements around the new Northern Line stations including new pavements, tree planting, increased cycle parking, new seating and wayfinding.

The competition follows the huge success of “Happy Street” – a joyful reinvention of the previously grim Thessaly Road underpass in Nine Elms by artist Yinka Ilori, and the outcome of a design competition organised in 2019 by Wandsworth Council and the LFA. Like “Happy Street” the Arch 42 Gateways project will create a lasting and transformational enhancement of the Nine Elms public realm, engaging and delighting the public and giving the winning team a highly visible platform to showcase their design and placemaking talent.



The LFA and Wandsworth Council are keen to encourage broad participation in the competition – including teams who have not entered LFA competitions before. In order to support this objective, the LFA and Wandsworth Council are hosting a Zoom meeting on Tuesday 29 September to discuss how to put a successful competition submission together. All information for entrants can be found here.


The deadline for the first stage of the competition – a simple call for expressions of interest – is midday on Friday 23 October. Shortlisted teams will then be awarded a £500 honorarium to develop their proposals, which will feature in a public exhibition in late November. The overall budget for the winning design is expected to be in the region of £165,000 + VAT including all fees, to develop and deliver the project which can be installed ahead of the opening of the Northern Line Extension.


The Arch 42 Gateways competition is being judged by an expert panel including:

  • David Bickle (partner, Hawkins\Brown)
  • Louise Dransfield (London editor, Estates Gazette)
  • Yinka Ilori (artist and designer)
  • Christopher Mansfield (chartered engineer, Network Rail)
  • Alex Rinsler (Nine Elms strategic lead for culture, Wandsworth Council)
  • Tamsie Thomson (director, London Festival of Architecture)


Rosa Rogina, head of programme at the London Festival of Architecture, said:

“It’s great to be working once again with Wandsworth Council on a design competition that will make a real difference to so many people. Opening up new routes is critical to making London a more people-friendly city, and the Arch 42 Gateways competition is a chance to go even further and brighten up everyday lives. For the place, its people and the winning team, this has the potential to be transformative and very special.”


Leader of Wandsworth Council, Councillor Ravi Govindia said:

“We’re delighted that this crucial linkage is finally opening up in time to connect the riverside path and open spaces with the new Northern Line Tube stations.

“Our plan to open up Arch 42 as one of the area’s key gateways follows the fantastic redesign of Thessaly Road bridge that the LFA and transport partners also helped us to deliver in 2019. I’m looking forward to seeing how another well-designed route can help us bring together residents and businesses on both sides of the railway line and provide a new attraction for visitors to the area.”


Christopher Mansfield, chartered engineer at Network Rail said:

“Millions of passengers each year travel over this Victorian structure, which has served its purpose well for over 170 years. We’re thrilled that designs are now being created so that each day thousands of new users will travel underneath to see and experience this Victorian engineering marvel in a new way for years to come.




This competition is part of the NLA Collaborate

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