Arts & Culture  Features

New connections: Arch 42

Arch 42 distance Luke Harding_1200px

Published on
February 9, 2021


The Nine Elms neighbourhood is known for its railway lines and roads connecting the area with other parts of London.

This year there’s going to be an exciting new archway connection between communities on each side of the tracks, joining up a route between new Tube stations opening in 2021 and New Covent Garden Market and the river.

What is Arch 42?

Arch 42 is an old railway arch forming a section of the Victorian railway viaduct which carries the South Western main line into Waterloo station.

Where is it?

It sits between Ponton Road, SW11 and New Covent Garden Market.

Arch 42 location on a map

Why is the arch opening up to the public?

The opening of this arch, in time for the Northern Line Extension opening in autumn 2021, will create a key public walking and cycling route between the new Nine Elms and Battersea Power Station underground stations, Wandsworth Road, Nine Elms Lane and the River Thames. It’s part of a package of infrastructure and public realm improvements being made by Wandsworth Council as the Nine Elms area grows.

The route through the archway will be distinguished by attractive gateways. The gateways design was chosen through a competition run by Wandsworth Council in partnership with London Festival of Architecture (LFA).

The chosen design

In February 2021, the council and LFA revealed that Projects Office won the competition with their original design Tunnel Visions.

The design was judged to show the best balance between innovation and artistic merit as well as showing deliverability and practicality for long term maintenance.

With a nod to Nine Elms’ railway heritage, Tunnel Visions will see Projects Office work with school children, residents and traders to reimagine traditional railway station ‘daggerboards’.

The proposals include a dramatic funnel archway highlighting the tunnel’s southern entrance with integrated seating and lighting. A decorative arch to the north, a ‘community totem’ which glows at night and plentiful planting.

Projects Office will now work with the local community to develop their design, with a view to finishing the arch gateways in time for the scheduled opening of the Northern Line Extension in Autumn 2021.

Tracking the journey so far

In November 2020, an expert judging panel shortlisted six design teams and asked them to propose designs for the gateways.

The design teams came up with six proposed designs to transform the railway arch and in December 2020 a public consultation gathered views from across the community. Nearly 700 members of the public took part and sent in their comments on the shortlisted designs to inform the judging panel.

In January 2021, the winning design was selected by the panel, including David Bickle (partner, Hawkins\Brown), Louise Dransfield (Former 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) and Tamsie Thomson (Managing Director, New London Architecture).

LFA and Wandsworth Council announced the winning design in February.

Related Stories