Determined to reinvigorate its small and medium sized local stations, Network Rail and RIBA have unveiled a three-phase competition for design, built environment and manufacturing firms.
Image: Luke Donovan
Outside of the UK’s major cities, a seasoned rail traveller would more than likely not put great stock in the amenities that local train stations have to offer. Compared to the shopping mall-like complexes of London’s transport hubs, the quality (in terms of both design and provisions for the community) vary greatly at small and medium-sized stations, and yet it is these stations that make up over 80% of all those on British Railways.
Earlier this year, Network Rail announced an ongoing commitment to evaluating ways that this type of local infrastructure could serve its communities better. At a a series of workshops held in January, alongside Design Council, Anthony Dewar, Professional Head of Architecture and Design at Network Rail said: “Railway stations are often a focal point of their local communities as well as important travel hubs. Network Rail is committed to designing stations that will be fit for the needs of today’s and future generations of passengers.”
Springing from feedback gathered at these workshops, Network Rail has teamed up with the Royal Institute of British Architects to launch a new design competition looking to address the future of local stations.
Designs for the competition can address both the adaptation of existing buildings, and new stations to meet increasing demand for rail travel. Alongside creative thinking to address the function that train stations play in local communities, the brief also calls for sustainable thinking and net-zero emissions to ensure these future designs are a positive legacy.
“Our ambition is to raise the quality of design across the whole rail network as well as responding to the evolving role of infrastructure within communities,” Dewar says of the brief. “We’re looking forward to welcoming creative and forward-thinking designs which will help us better serve the communities and passengers who rely on our railway.”
The competition is open internationally to individuals and teams from both small and large organisations from the design, built environment and manufacturing industries.
The competition will be set up in a three-stage process, starting with an anonymous design proposal submission. Up to six entrants will be invited to phase two , at which point each will receive an honoraria of £20,000 +VAT. In the final phase, up to three entrants will be invited to enter into a services contract to develop their design solutions further with a contract sum of up to £250,000 awarded to each.
The closing date for submissions is Tuesday 15th September, and the full brief can be found on the RIBA Competitions website.