Marble Arch Mound set to be repurposed in redevelopment of London estate

Fake hill near Oxford Street

Elements of the dismantled Marble Arch Mound that Dutch studio MVRDV designed for central London last year are planned to be reused in the renewal of Ebury estate in Pimlico.

Materials and trees used to create the controversial attraction beside Marble Arch will be repurposed into gardens and a play area at the redeveloped housing complex.

The plans form part of the wider redevelopment of the red-brick Ebury estate, which is being overseen by Westminster City Council – the same body that commissioned the Marble Arch Mound.

Cyclist passing Marble Arch Mound by MVRDV
Elements of the Marble Arch Mound are set to be reused at Ebury estate

Opened in July 2021, the Marble Arch Mound installation was designed by MVRDV as a temporary landscaped viewpoint intended to resemble a hill.

It was commissioned by the council with the aim of enticing people back to the Oxford Street shopping district after lockdown. However, it was ridiculed by critics after it opened too early and the greenery began to die.

A decision was made to temporarily close the structure shortly after it opened, and when it reopened a month later entry fees were scrapped. It closed permanently in January 2022.

Westminster City Council’s deputy leader Melvyn Caplan who oversaw the project resigned over the scheme, for which costs spiralled from £3.3 million to £6 million.

Since then, MVRDV has blamed Westminster City Council’s “nonchalance and laxity” for the failings of the project, but added that “we stand by our initial design”.

Perhaps the one success of the project is that the installation will now be repurposed just as MVRDV intended when it revealed the project.

While details of the landscaping for Ebury estate’s new gardens and play area are yet to be disclosed, MVRDV had planned for all of the wood, soil, grass and trees from the installation to be reused.

Detail photo of Marble Arch Mound planting in London
Trees and other materials from the structure will be used to form gardens

Westminster City Council’s phased regeneration of Ebury estate, which has been in development for 13 years, has also proven to be controversial in its own right.

Designed by local studio Astudio Architects to increase the number of homes on the site, it will see the demolition of its existing 1930s buildings in place of 758 new flats – meaning many residents are being forced to move into temporary housing. According to the BBC, 20 of them are currently refusing to leave.

Ridicule of the Marble Arch Mound continues a year on. Last month, designer Dan Douglas recreated the viewpoint within a modified version of a 1990s video game called Duke Nukem to allow disappointed visitors to blow it up.

The photography is by Dezeen.

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