Designed by John Nash in 1828, Marble Arch was moved next to Speaker’s Corner from its original spot in front of Buckingham Palace in 1851. Marble Arch Hill will be a 25-metre-tall structure that aims to redefine the connection between Oxford Street and Hyde Park, while giving visitors rare views over the park and Marble Arch. It has come about because Westminster City Council wants to create renewed interest in the area following the conditions imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The installation has been designed by MVRDV, and is made up of a park-like landscape of grass and trees. Marble Arch Hill will have a scaffold structure as its base, which will support the plywood and soil layers needed for the grass upper layer to grow. The structure will be adapted at strategic points to hold large planters that will be home to trees.
Visitors will climb to the viewpoint via a path that winds its way up the hill’s southern slope, after which they will descend into a hall in the heart of the hill, which is a hollowed-out space that will be used for events, exhibitions, and other happenings. According to its designers, the installation aims to enlarge Hyde Park and lift it at the corner, and strengthen the connection between Oxford Street and the park via the Marble Arch.
“This project is a wonderful opportunity to give an impulse to a highly recognisable location in London,” says MVRDV founding partner, Winy Maas. “It’s a location full of contradictions, and our design highlights that. By adding this landscape element, we make a comment on the urban layout of the Marble Arch, and by looking to the site’s history, we make a comment on the area’s future.
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