The mound at Marble Arch has been shut just two days after it opened on Monday, as “elements” of the mound “are not yet ready for visitors.”
Westminster City Council’s expensive temporary installation has been subject to a barrage of online ridicule, since it did not quite live up to expectations as promised in the marketing brochure.
The £2m Mound’s website promised visitors “a unique opportunity to look out over the area from a new perspective as the council and its partners start to transform the District.”
I went to the Marble Arch Mound today. It cost £2 million to build, and today was launch day, but it was still quite quiet.
Here is a short thread with info.
First, the original plan drawings and the marketing description do not quite match reality. pic.twitter.com/Km4YFbxySm
— dan barker (@danbarker) July 26, 2021
The artificial hill was meant to be verdant green with tall trees and bushes. The reality is rather different, with some social media users comparing the brown coloured hill to everything from a slag heap to the set from the Teletubbies and Super Mario 64.
Westminster City Council said that anyone who has booked a visit to the Marble Arch Mound during the first week of opening will be offered both a refund and a return ticket so that they can “see the mound at its best.”
you cannot tell me the Marble Arch mound doesn’t look like the first level in mario 64 pic.twitter.com/Z4GqtjZqqB
— joshua (@joshcharles_21) July 27, 2021
They explained: “The Mound is a living building by design. We’ll continue to adapt and improve London’s newest outdoor attraction and resolve any teething problems as they emerge.”
The looming pile of soil was designed by Rotterdam-based MVRDV architects and was created as part of a bid to make London greener, with its website describing it as “a new and meaningful experience that captures the imagination of residents, businesses and visitors.”
The 25m-tall temporary structure, which is set to remain in Central London until January, is meant to offer views over Hyde Park, Oxford Street and Marble Arch.
It apparently falls short, however, with one Twitter user commenting: “If you wanna stand on a mound to look over a park and not pay £8 just go Northolt Hills. You can see the Shard as well.”
Another said: “You can see the Shard and the cranes in the distance. But that’s about it.”
Ticket holders will be offered an alternative time to visit the mound, once it has had an opportunity to “bed in and grow,” which should mean that it is greener and more similar to how the original brochure depicted it.
Very few visitors scaled the artificial hill on Monday, however, and those who did, did not seem to be overly impressed.
One Twitter user even described it as: “The worst thing I’ve ever done in London.”
If the mound’s lack of popularity persists, Westminster City Council may struggle to make back its outgoings.