Birmingham New Street Station is an important transport hub and a key element of the city’s public realm. Occupying an important position in the city centre and handling a large amount of traffic, it casts the first impression of Birmingham to a large influx of visitors to the Midlands.
Start on site: 2009
Completion: Sept 2015
Gross internal floor area: Lower mezzanine – 3,000m²; platforms – 8,000m²; concourse – 20,000m²; upper mezzanine – 4,500m²; grand central – 17,000m²; JLP – 24,000m²; upper retail – 15,000m²; total – 91,500m²
Form of contract or procurement route: Design and build – Construction Management
CONSTRUCTION Total cost: £750 million
Concept architect: AZPML Executive architect: Atkins Interior architect: Haskolls
Client: Network Rail, Birmingham City Council, Department for Transport, Centro
Structural engineer: AKT II, Atkins
M&E consultant:Hoare Lea (MEP), Atkins
QS: Faithful & Gould
Other consultants: Subcontractors and suppliers: NG Bailey, Coleman & Company, Elliott Thomas, Martifer UK, Fireclad, MPB, SAS, Vector Foiltech, Glazzard.
Project manager (Main contractor): MACE
AZPML/FOA Team credits:
AZPML/FOA Partner-in-Charge: Alejandro Zaera-Polo with: Manuel Eijo, Guillermo Fernandez-Abascal, Charles Valla, Christof Trenner, Tommaso Franzolini, Lola Fernandez, Sukyeong Kim, Carmen Sagredo, Takeru Sato, Penny Sperbund, Niklavs Paegle, Tobias Jewson, Mio Sato, Manuel Távora
Photographer: JAVIER CALLEJAS
The proposal for Birmingham New Street Station seeks to produce an iconic architecture that, beyond creating an impression, is able to communicate to the public the function of the building and the character of its location at the very centre of Birmingham City. An expression of the dynamic nature of transport was sought for the project.
The geometries of motion and the distortion of perception produced by movement have been the inspiration for the architectural expression of the project. The bifurcating, undulating, smooth forms of the track field have been transferred and embedded into the geometry of the building to ornate the city and to convey its historical character as a transportation hub, where various traffic systems – such as the famous canals, the roman roads etc. converge and overlay. The design aims also to trigger a new perception of the urban settings around the station, by specifically reflecting selected areas of the urban landscape around the station.
The design approach aims to re-establish consistency between form and expression in the new station design, both in the cladding and in the re- organization of the building. As the cladding could not be related to the interior of the building for practical reasons, the design of the façade was referred to the exterior space, making the building an instrument to intensify the perception of urban life around Birmingham’s New Street.
By turning the external rain screen into a warping, reflective stainless-steel surface, Birmingham New Street Station was designed to produce controlled reflection of the surrounding urban field to reflect the once dark, now bright Birmingham sky, the crowds of passengers, the trains entering and exiting the station, the hues of the sunset and sunrise, and other dynamic regimes present at the site. Highlighting the four main access points, large ‘eye-shaped’ media screens have been integrated in the façade.
The field of reflections which constitutes the external envelope of the building, and produces a consistent identity, differentiates depending on the depth of the space in front of the building, to select views of the commuters, the trains and the sky, as the main components of the building.
The project also included the interior of the building, opening a new central atrium in the old building and installing a transparent roof which will bring daylight into the old station. The atrium roof was designed using the existing column grid as the landing points for a web of mutually buttressed girders spanning 42m which hold bulging ETFE cushions over the central space of the atrium. The geometry of bifurcations which characterizes railtrack layouts has been used in order to relate the building qualities to the function of the building.