The first phase of the master plan returns the splendour and clarity of the original design by removing ad hoc additions to reveal the wrought iron spans and transepts.
The new scheme replaces concourse facilities for operations and retailers with low-profile pods of stainless steel and glass, as well as public information monitors housed in slim banks of plasma screens.
The key addition to the station is The Lawn – a double height structure of glass and concrete at the station’s south end. Once the stationmaster’s garden, this area became a public concourse in 1933.
The scheme restores the 1930s stone facades and provides ample space for eating, drinking and shopping. Enclosed by a lightweight roof of steel and glass, the new climate controlled area gives passengers an optimum view to relax and take in the dramatic Victorian terminus, fulfilling Brunel’s vision for a grand international terminal.
We are very pleased with the interface between traditional and modern. This is bold, forward-looking architecture that respects Brunel’s original design.
Robin Lovell, Asset Development Manager, Network Rail
Part of the upgrade included renewing the concourse. Its functions were clarified to include stainless steel and glass pods for retail and operations, as well as a series of sleek points for public information formed of flat plasma screen monitors.
Orientated in parallel with the main station vaults, the screens give train operators and railway authorities a surface that can display real-time and targeted information, which is instantly accessible to customers at key points on the concourse. The clarity of the displays surpasses older technologies of this kind.
The system’s highly engineered, bespoke elements meet international standards for sealing against moisture and dust, while the use of ultra-thin glass plasma screens ensures their longevity.
At last, the issue of how these great monuments are to function for the future is being addressed.
Kenneth Powell, The Architects’ Journal
86,000 sq m
Nick Hufton, Peter Cook/View