MVRDV’s “Marble Arch Hill” will give Londoners a new perspective on Hyde Park and Marble Arch in 2021

MVRDV today reveals “Marble Arch Hill”, a temporary installation next to London’s Marble Arch that will add a new attraction to the area beginning in July this year. A hollowed-out mountain based on a scaffolding structure, Marble Arch Hill will redefine the connection between Oxford Street and Hyde Park while giving visitors rare views over the park and Marble Arch. 

As Europe’s busiest shopping street, Oxford Street has been hit particularly hard by Covid-19 measures. Plans are underway to diversify the street’s spaces, but these changes will take a number of years. In the short term, Westminster City Council sought to use a temporary installation to create renewed interest in the area as London could be emerging from the conditions imposed by the pandemic. 

MVRDV’s proposal for this installation takes inspiration from the history of the site. Marble Arch once marked the corner of Hyde Park, but in the 1960s new roads were added that turned the arch into a traffic island, disconnected from the rest of the park. MVRDV’s design introduces a park-like landscape of grass and trees, and ‘lifts’ this recreated corner of Hyde Park to create a spectacular 25-metre-tall viewpoint that gives visitors an overview of Oxford Street and the park, and a new perspective on Marble Arch itself. 

MVRDV 
MVRDV | Concept diagram.
MVRDV 

Marble Arch Hill will be experienced via a single continuous route. 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 great Hall in the heart of the hill, a hollowed-out space that will be used for events, exhibitions, and other happenings. The exit from the Hall is located in a notch in the corner of the hill that ensures the temporary structure is offset from Marble Arch. In this way, visitors are confronted with multiple views on the arch, giving them a new perspective on an object they might otherwise take for granted. 

“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. We enlarge the park and lift it at the corner. Marble Arch Hill strengthens the connection between Oxford Street and the park via the Marble Arch. Can this temporary addition help inspire the city to undo the mistakes of the 1960s, and repair that connection?” 

MVRDV

 

MVRDV | Section.
MVRDV

Marble Arch Hill uses a scaffold structure on its base, which will support the plywood and soil layers needed for the grass upper layer to grow. At strategic points, the structure is adapted to hold large planters that will be home to trees. The design draws from two separate lineages of MVRDV’s work: the office showed the transformative potential of temporary scaffold structures with its 2016 Stairs to Kriterion installation in Rotterdam; the mountain concept, meanwhile, recalls the 2004 proposal for the Serpentine Pavilion nearby in Hyde Park. This design remains the only iteration of the Serpentine Pavilion that the museum was unable to realise; with the Marble Arch Hill, this ambitious idea will finally come to life. 

Sustainability is an important consideration in the design of Marble Arch Hill. As a temporary structure, it is critical to ensure that it produces as little waste as possible when it is removed. 

Therefore the design is created with the reuse of elements in mind. The scaffolding structure can of course be disassembled and reused, while the elements that make up its top layer – wood, soil, grass, and trees – will all find new uses in nearby gardens and parks. 

Marble Arch Hill will open in July 2021, with its closing date in the winter still to be determined. 

 


PROJECT DETAILS

Project Name: Marble Arch Hill 

Location: London, United Kingdom 

Year: 2021 

Client: Westminster City Council 

Architect: MVRDV 

Founding Partner in charge: Winy Maas 

Director: Gideon Maasland 

Design Team: Gijs Rikken, Sanne van Manen, Joanna Wirkus, Paulina Kurowska Visualisations: Antonio Luca Coco, Angelo La Delfa, Luana La Martina 

Copyright: MVRDV 2021 – (Winy Maas, Jacob van Rijs, Nathalie de Vries, Frans de Witte, Fokke Moerel, Wenchian Shi, Jan Knikker) 

Programme: Temporary Installation 

 


ABOUT MVRDV

MVRDV was founded in 1993 by Winy Maas, Jacob van Rijs and Nathalie de Vries. Based in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, we have a global scope, providing solutions to contemporary architectural and urban issues in all regions of the world. Our highly collaborative, research-based design method involves clients, stakeholders, and experts from a wide range of fields from early on in the creative process. The results are exemplary, outspoken projects that enable our cities and landscapes to develop towards a better future.

The work of MVRDV is exhibited and published worldwide and has received numerous international awards. Two hundred and fifty architects, designers and urbanists develop projects in a multi-disciplinary, collaborative design process that involves rigorous technical and creative investigation. MVRDV works with BIM and has official in-house BREEAM and LEED assessors.

The products of MVRDV’s unique approach to design vary, ranging from buildings of all types and sizes to urban plans and visions, numerous publications, installations and exhibitions. Completed projects include the Netherlands Pavilion for the World EXPO 2000 in Hannover; the Market Hall, a combination of housing and retail in Rotterdam; the Pushed Slab, a sustainable office building in Paris’ first eco-district; Flight Forum, an innovative business park in Eindhoven; the Silodam Housing complex in Amsterdam; the Matsudai Cultural Centre in Japan; the Unterföhring office campus near Munich; the Lloyd Hotel in Amsterdam; the Ypenburg housing and urban plan in The Hague; the Didden Village rooftop housing extension in Rotterdam; the music centre De Effenaar in Eindhoven; the Gyre boutique shopping centre in Tokyo; a public library in Spijkenisse; an international bank headquarters in Oslo, Norway; and the iconic Mirador and Celosia housing in Madrid.

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