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Super sewer’s first riverside ventilation column installed along Putney Embankment

Super sewer’s first riverside ventilation column installed along Putney Embankment

  • First of 19 ‘signature’ ventilation columns installed along the river at Putney
  • Columns feature poetry celebrating local heritage
  • Design inspired by the flows of water into London’s new super sewer

The first riverside ‘signature ventilation column’ that will adorn sites along the route of the super sewer has been installed along Putney Embankment.

The columns represent an artistic and sculptural engineering solution and will eventually occupy nine sites at which Tideway is creating new public spaces.    

The form of the 5m-high sculpture is inspired by flowing water, while each column features a poem referencing an aspect of the local area’s heritage.

Putney is one of the sites on the super sewer project at which Tideway is creating a new piece of public land out into the River Thames.

These ‘public realm’ sites will house a number of artistic elements, including bespoke landscaping, permanent artwork as well as specially commissioned poetry focussing on an aspect of the area’s heritage written by poet Dorothea Smartt.

Putney MP Fleur Anderson said: “It’s great to see the final form of this site really beginning to take shape. The installation of this signature ventilation column at Putney – the first riverside example on the Tideway project – shows the progress being made on London’s new super sewer. 

“Residents of Putney will soon benefit – not just from a cleaner River Thames – but from this new piece of public land, offering an all-new vista of the Thames as well as a number of artistic and sculptural elements linking to our area’s history.”

Cast in nickel aluminium bronze, the same alloy used to create ship propellors, the ventilation columns are required to regulate the gases within the super sewer.

And their twisting, flowing form is inspired by the ‘computational fluid dynamics’ modelling how the flows travel down the vortex system and into the main super sewer.

The poem for the column at Putney references the lost river, the Beverly Brook, and its relation to early women’s swimming races help in the river at the site.

This column was cast in the Netherlands before being brough to Walham Forest for finishing and patination.