London, a temporary, scenic hill will rise near Hyde Park

A temporary, scenic hill near Hyde Park in London is being built to bring people back to that area again.

In London, a viewing hill will rise near the Marble Arch, the triumphal arch that stands out near Hyde Park and Oxford Street: this is thetemporary installation Marble Arch Hill, which will offer visitors a striking view of the park and the arch and bring a new attraction to the area. The goal is primarily to bring people back to walk around the city.

The installation is in progress and was designed by the architectural firm Mvrdv on commission from Westminster City Council. Oxford Street has always been very busy and alive as it is considered one of the most popular shopping streets in Europe, but due to the health emergency restrictions from Covid-19 it was greatly affected as people no longer walked along this street. Several plans are therefore underway to diversify the street’s spaces, although it will be years before we see these changes completed.

In the meantime, the Westminster City Council has planned to create a temporary installation to bring interest back to the area.

Mvrdv’s design is inspired by the history of the site. Marble Arch once stood right on the corner of Hyde Park, but in the 1960s, as new roads were added, the arch became a traffic island, disconnected from the rest of the park. The new mound will therefore create a park-like landscape with grass and trees and elevate this corner to offer visitors a 25-meter-high “lookout” over Oxford Street, the park, and the arch itself.

Through a single continuous path, people will ascend to the viewpoint by way of a path on the south side of the mound, then descend to a large room in the heart of the hill (a space carved out within it that will be used for events and exhibitions; they will finally exit onto a corner of the hill and face multiple views of the arch for a new perspective on the arch.

Marble Arch Hill will use a scaffold structure on which layers of soil necessary for grass growth will be built. Large planters will also be placed at strategic points to house plants. The structure will be created with reusable elements: the scaffolding can be disassembled and reused, while the elements of the top layer (wood, soil, grass, trees) will be introduced to nearby gardens and parks.

“This project is a wonderful opportunity to revive one of London’s most well-known places,” said Winy Maas, founding partner of MVRDV. “It is a place full of contradictions and our design highlights that. By adding this landscape element, we reflect on the urban layout of Marble Arch and, by looking at the history of the site, we intend to reflect on the future of the area. We enlarge the park and raise it to the corner. Marble Arch Hill will reinforce the connection between Oxford Street and the park via Marble Arch. Can this temporary installation help inspire the city to right the wrongs of the 1960s and rebuild that connection?”

Image: Rendering Marble Arch Hill. Credit MVRDV

London, a temporary, scenic hill will rise near Hyde Park
London, a temporary, scenic hill will rise near Hyde Park

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