Failed Architecture: Video: "The Pedway: Elevating London"

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"The Pedway: Elevating London is a documentary about the ambitious attempt to create a network of raised walkways in the City of London. Constructed in the 1960s, the elevated infrastructure soon became obsolete, leaving behind haunting modernist traces in modern-day London. The film was screened at various festivals, including the Architecture Film Festival Rotterdam, and of course at The Barbican, which is integrated in the Pedway system. It is now online for a limited time. FA talked to director Chris Bevan Lee about the documentary and London’s ‘streets in the sky’.

After World War II, much of London was in rubble and had to be built up from scratch, allowing ambitious architecture and urban planning. One of the schemes for a new London was the ‘Pedway’, a network of elevated walkways throughout the City. The plan was only partially carried out as a result of budget cuts and modified plans, with part of the pathways leading to dead ends and physically decaying over time. Next to this, the idea of separating pedestrians from motorised traffic became outdated after changing planning paradigms and everyday urban dynamics. Nowadays, in a nostalgic, gloomy and inconvenient way, the Pedway’s remnants remind us of a future that never came."

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