Birmingham New Street Station
Title: Birmingham New Street Station
Location: Birmingham, United Kingdom
Office: AZPML; Atkins
Authors: Alejandro Zaera-Polo, Ivaylo Machev
Category: Collective Places
Birmingham New Street Station is an important transport hub and a key aspect of the city’s public realm. Occupying an important position in the city and handling a large amount of traffic, it provides the first impression of Birmingham to a large influx of visitors to the Midlands.
The proposal for Birmingham New Street Station seeks to produce an iconic architecture that, beyond creating an impression, will be able to communicate the function of the building and the character of its location at the very centre of Birmingham City, to the public. To achieve this it is proposed to provide expression to the dynamic nature of the railway theme.
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 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 Birmingham New Street Station is UK's busiest station and interchange outside London. Its location and function makes it an excellent infrastructural transport hub and a collective place, where flows of passengers, visitors and trains, blend together with the sky and the surrounding buildings throughout the reflections of the stainless steel facade.
The strategy of the project and it’s new reflective façade, which allows to create a continuity with internal and external square, making the building an instrument to intensify the perception of urban life in Birmingham's inner city, as opposed to try to reveal its inner structure.
This approach is a necessary evolution of the modernist Dogmas of transparency towards them to more pragmatic and strategic approach Necessary to address the complexities of contemporary cultures.
By turning the external rain screen into a warping, reflective stainless steel surface, Birmingham New Street Station will be designed to produce controlled reflection of the surrounding urban field to reflect the once dark, now Birmingham bright 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.
The whole facade can be seen as a mirror that collects and reflects all the surrounding environment, integrating everything inside its dynamic facade.