I’ve been taking some pictures of my favourite bridge over the A406. There is something particularly brilliant about this one near the Walthamstow dog track. I’ve got a bit of a thing for concrete structures like this. Perhaps road bridges and multi-storey car parks are Britain’s only real successful modernist legacy. The great post-war high density housing experiment is over (Lynsey Hanley writes very well on the subject in her book Estates) and all that’s left are these elevated walkways for the inferior pedestrian, and spiral exit routes for cars. Even Gateshead’s multi-storey made famous in the film Get Carter was demolished in 2010.
This bridge is vast, at this point spanning six lanes of the North Circular Road plus slip roads. Pedestrians must climb sloping ramps of quite some distance before reaching the top. I want to rebuild this bridge somewhere rural – probably in an area of outstanding natural beauty. There would be no reason to use the bridge in this area other than to get a view and to admire its Brutalist functionality and fine concrete. In this rural setting its vastness and modernity would be heightened. Rather than offering pedestrians a circuitous route between home and Sainsbury’s, and with no cars in sight, this would be a spectacle celebrating modernism, the simplicity of materials and potentially give the walker a new perspective on both urban and rural landscape. If anyone fancies commissioning this please don’t hesitate to contact me!