A series of natural ice rinks for the River Thames has been proposed by architecture practice NBBJ that would restore the Frost Fair (last seen in the 1830s) to the surface of the river. The Frost Flowers are a series of retractable jetties that would unfurl into large circular discs. Submerged slightly below the water level, the structures would isolate a thin basin of water from the flow of the river and enable the water to freeze. The surface could then be used for public ice skating, markets and exhibitions.
The Frost Fair was a city wide celebration that saw the Thames freeze over when the original London bridge limited the flow of the river during winter months. This latest concept follows a slew of recent proposals that engage with the river including the Garden Bridge by Heatherwick Studio, swimming pools by Studio Octopi, a pedestrian and cycle bridge by Bystrup Architects at Nine Elms and floating villages by a number of design firms.
“In a dense, modern city such as London the Thames provides a unique open vista where the history and origins of this great city can be viewed,” Christian Coop, Design Director of NBBJ. “A draw for Londoners and tourists alike, the South Bank has become a bustling leisure area with bars and markets lining the river. New space is now desperately needed, and accordingly we looked to our heritage to find one possible solution.”
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