10 / 2020
Railway stations have become cultural icons, from grand termini – the Cathedrals of Steam – to the country halts of literary classics like the Railway Children. Partly this stems from their longevity and partly the ubiquitous place they have in our day-to-day lives; however, it also derives from distinctive and confident architectural styling. Sadly, much subsequent station construction – notable exceptions like King’s Cross aside – has been lacklustre: rooms to move through not somewhere that will conjure a future memory or evoke positive emotions.
The Community Station concept addresses this disconnect taking stations back to a model that people can instantly recognise and be proud of. Their inspiration is distinctive, recognisable railway features: bridges, viaducts, engine-sheds and platform canopies generating a series of building-types that will sit comfortably in but also stand out amongst the local skyline. Purposefully they are not Disneyfied pastiches but bold new entities with defined characters.
Each design style is modular (shown generically as a mid-size station), sized to suit location and condition. At their heart is a core of station-services focussed on a central ticketing, information and sales counter offering a protective 360˚ panorama around the concourse. Within each characteristic outer-shell additional site-specific accommodation will be organised in self-contained pods laid-out to be immediately accessible but not detracting from the ‘fast-track’ route to the platforms.
They are also predicated on the notion that the station cannot just be a transport mono-culture but to thrive must be a civic entity contributing it’s community. The size of the ‘estate’ around any given station will vary but in some locations space will be available to build subsidiary blocks for community-use and if not the roof can form the site for a playground or urban farm. One-size-cannot-fit-all over 2,000 stations: a family of designs is required; that is the Community Station family.