Fly-under could help produce “Hammersmith Riviera”

lfa event 2012This year’s London Festival of Architecture event in Lyric Square, Hammersmith focussed on the future of the Hammersmith flyover and alternatives for the A4, including a tunnel – branded the Hammersmith fly-under.

The flyover may be a few decades from the end of its life, with more closures likely to be required for maintenance in that time.  The architects and engineers who gathered for the event think removing the flyover would create many opportunities, including opening up views towards St Paul’s Church and the Thames; an increase in sunlight and daylight into central Hammersmith; a reduction in pollution and noise; the creation of more green space; and stitching back the historic urban grain.

A4 tunnel before

Before – as the A4 is now

Those involved put on a display of ideas, and listened to the public’s views on them at the event in Lyric Square on June 23. The team included Assael, Powell Tuck Associates, Hugh Broughton Architects, Paul Murphy Architects, Allford Hall Monaghan Morris, Halcrow, the Royal Academy of Arts, New London Architecture, the Royal Institute of British Architects and London Met.

The ideas and suggestions from the public are being collated to be presented to the Council, the GLA and Tfl, with a view, say the team, to progressing to a full feasibility study with the right support.

A4 tunnel after

After – as it could look

Russell Pedley, director at architectural practice Assael was one of the experts present.  He said: “We need to seize this opportunity and find a way to connect Hammersmith back to its waterfront. The discussions at the weekend have generated the enthusiasm and the vision, and explored practical solutions.

“Creating a ‘Hammersmith Riviera’ would not only improve values, but could generate further development opportunities on land freed up by sinking a section of the A4 in a tunnel – ‘the fly-under’.  We now need to explore how much development would be needed to make this a viable proposition and, if it isn’t, what the funding gap is.  There are obvious benefits to the local community from more public realm and better places to live, work and play, so the next step is to find a way to make it happen.”

The A4 was constructed in 1961 and has had a major impact on Chiswick and Hammersmith.  It closed in January 2012 for repair, prompting renewed discussion on its future, and is now open again.  Some suggest it has only 15 years left of its life.

A similar LFA event in 2008 discussed the concept of a tunnel, with the ideas and discussions welcomed at that time by LB Hammersmith & Fulham.

See previous coverage.

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