Hammersmith High Line

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Hammersmith’s high line – that bit of viaduct in the centre of the town left over from the number of lines that once threaded their way through here! Since 1916 when the last connections at Ravenscourt Park were removed – the viaduct has been left to stand on its own. Its also influenced the layout of the modern buildings that have grown up around it. In light of the new craze for high lines, Hammersmith has sought to improve the forlorn looking viaduct by inviting ideas for improvement and incorporation into a public space.

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How it used to look. The Hammersmith viaduct looking east in 1930 with tracks still intact – despite these being severed in 1916. Source: LURS

The winning entries were announced on 17th June 2019. And these here are some of the selections I liked. Some are great, some even bizarre but no doubt illustrating a point about the whole architectural merits of our city and its transport system. There were so many it was difficult to choose – about 65 in total to see at the exhibition.

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The viaduct/high line today looking west. The curved section ventured towards Hammersmith (H&C) station and there was a high level station there known as Grove Road. This was accessible from the H&C station itself via steps. Source: Twitter

The two winning entries in the Hammersmith High Line competition have their own space at one end of the exhibition area. The rest are grouped together in twos and threes. Part of the exhibition area is downstairs on the former Poundland store frontage whilst the main section is upstairs.

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The exhibition area is by the steps leading to the car parks/toilets/atrium gardens. Part of the ground floor exhibition can be seen at far left.

The exhibition is on from 22nd June until 7th July (some sources suggest slightly different dates so these are what seems the most accurate.) The exhibition can be found inside the King’s Mall centre at Hammersmith.

If one has time there’s always the chance to pop onto one of the bridges linking the shopping centre to the adjacent car park – and which goes over the viaducts in order to view it – or it can be seen from several points to the rear of the shopping centre.

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The winning entry – and quite a bizarre idea too! Its called fish and chips. It entails the lower parts of the viaduct in use as an aquarium and the upper part as a greenhouse where locally produced goods can be found.

No doubt one can see this exhibition has its share of bizarre ideas, as well as serious contenders. Let’s dive into (or off) the next bizarre idea. I think its great actually but it’ll never happen…

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The solution we’ve all been waiting for! Hammersmith suspension bridge removed and relocated on the high line! Fantastic idea – but will it ever happen?

Generally the access points will be via the existing footbridges across the railway between the mall and the car parks, and possibly an extra access from Cambridge Grove.

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The Hammersmith Hi-Line. The runner up in the competition. Nice but perhaps sort of run of the mill compared to the others. Not a fav of mine.

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This one is Tube Strikes. A bowling alley and old tube trains in use as cafes, changing rooms, ticket offices etc. Very novel and one I liked.

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The Vineyard – a salute to the nursery of the same name founded in 1745 in Hammersmith and with the 145 species of vine used in the original.

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The Hammersmith Isles. A project to show how food reaches the table. The idea is to have three segments each with its own themes, plus sustainability and local eco systems form an important part of each theme.

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No doubt one of the best ideas! Hammersmith Spaceport. Launches will be timed to coincide with passing tube trains so as to minimze the impact of any noise. Facility for VTOL space craft. Includes a rail based rocket launcher. Intercontinental rocket services to other high lines including in New York, Paris, Camden, Brighton etc.

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The Natureway. Creating an asset from what is already there and letting the wild plants shape the pathways. Defunct tube stock used as cafes or educational centres.

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Hammersmith Highline. ‘A formula for happiness where reality exceeds expectations.’ Gardens, water features, mediation, performances, food, or simply make new friends. Biodiversity important.

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Hammersmith Arcade. Four elements – allotments, market, amphitheatre, playground. Green spaces link each area and new access points added.

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The Hammersmith Green Highline. The existing viaduct is widened by means of extensions over the tube tracks. Different themes on top linked to the spaces beneath the viaduct itself. Includes space for cycling.

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The Overgrownd. ‘A biophillic promenade that celebrates the fascinating existing condition of an overgrown railway track.’ Features wild gardens and simple use architecture which can be used for many things – events, exhibitions, theatre.

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