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Marble Arch Mound planning image versus reality
MVRDV / DanBarker

The Marble Arch Mound has already been closed

The temporary viewing platform cost £2 million

Written by
Chiara Wilkinson

You might have seen a strange and slightly underwhelming artificial hill slapped onto one end of Oxford Street. Turns out, the temporary lump of grass cost £2 million to build – but after opening for two days this week for visitors, it has already been closed down.

Named Marble Arch Mound, the 25-metre-tall attraction was announced by Westminster Council in February to lure visitors back to the West End as part of a new £150m Oxford Street District plan. Designed by Dutch architectural firm MVRDV, it was meant to be a green space slash art installation slash viewing platform, looking out over Hyde Park and Marylebone. 

The temporary hill was built on a scaffolding base, with layers of soil and plywood forming the mound with a hollow centre for exhibitions and displays. At the moment, it admittedly looks a little bare compared to what we were promised – with building works and scaffolding still scattering the attraction. Visitors were able to book tickets online to visit the grassy heap (starting from £4.50), but according to the Evening Standard, quite a few people were offered refunds after checking it out and feeling let down.  

It's probably because the grassy heap doesn’t quite resemble the images from the original planning proposals. Several visitors took to social media to comment on the launch – including a guy called Dan Barker, who shared his thoughts on a comprehensive thread on TwitterSeems like it wasn't exactly finished and still needs to be jazzed up a bit more. 

So even if you did fancy booking a visit, you've missed your chance. Last night, a spokesman from City of Westminster Council told the Times that the structure had closed because 'it is clear that it is not ready', but failed to explain why it was opened on Monday or when it would reopen. What a saga. 

In other urban developments, Battersea Power Station’s Northern line extension is arriving in Autumn 2021.

Eek. Climate change will put these areas of London underwater within a decade.

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