Onwards and upwards

Canary Wharf Underground Station

Canary Wharf station_530x416

Canary Wharf Underground Station
Architect: Foster and Partners (1991-1999)
Photographer: Janet Hall (1999)
Source: RIBA British Architectural Library Photographs Collection

The Jubilee Line Extension was one of the triumphs of British engineering and architecture of the late twentieth century. Accompanying the regeneration of the London Docklands, it opened up huge swathes of south and east London for redevelopment. The architecture and planning of Docklands have been much criticised. Most, however,  agree that aesthetically and functionally the Jubilee Line is a great success.

Each station on the line is striking, but perhaps the most impressive is Canary Wharf (1991-99). Designed to allow access to the vast office and commercial development there, its scale is phenomenal. Unlike most other tube stations, for once, space was available. Thus, rather than being hidden deep beneath other buildings, above this can be found landscaped gardens and great glass canopies, lighting the station beneath.

Users are met with light, spacious interiors. The architecture is restrained: smooth grey concrete and cool steel dominate.  The glass melts into the concrete vaulting  

Below, the sleek, shiny escalators take centre stage, carrying many thousands daily. Who would think that this was once a busy dock, the new station walls holding back the might of both earth and water?

 

About the online exhibition


'How We Built Britain' is a major collaboration with the BBC

 

Images in the exhibition are from RIBApix, a growing database dedicated to providing you with exceptional and unique images from the RIBA British Architectural Library's collections.

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