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New Street Station


19 September 2008

Press release contact:

Julia Davies
T: +44 (0)113 203 1490
E: julia.davies@riba.org

New Street Station, Birmingham

Passengers and the people of Birmingham and the West Midlands were shown visionary new designs for New Street station today.

The striking concept designs, clad in shimmering, reflective metal, will create a bold, modern gateway to the city for the millions of people using the station each year.

The iconic design is the work of the renowned Foreign Office Architects. They beat dozens of rivals, including many of the world's top practices to win an international RIBA competition and land the prestigious project.

Speaking at the launch event, Cllr Mike Whitby, chairman of the New Street Gateway Funders' Board, said: "The Birmingham Gateway, which will support over 52m passengers a year, demands a world class architectural vision to embody the rebirth of New Street station.

"With the world looking on, this breathtaking design firmly places Birmingham on the international map for very high quality, daring design.

"Alejandro Zaera-Polo's bold architecture symbolises Birmingham's arrival over the last few years as a globally relevant city looking to its future, as a connected international hub, to the advantage of citizen and investor alike.

"I would like to thank Foreign Office Architect's and the selection panel for their hard work. The Gateway project will enrich the continuing regeneration of Birmingham, and enhance our reputation as a truly world class city."

Alejandro Zaera-Polo, principal architect for Foreign Office Architects, stated:  "We were inspired by the movement of people and trains at New Street and the beauty of the skyline. Our concept reflects all these components.

"We are proud to work on such an important project and I look forward to being part of the integrated team which takes this vital scheme from concept to reality."

The station will be covered in reflective sheets of carefully crafted and finished metal and will incorporate three high technology digital displays which will make the entrances to New Street clear and easy to find.

Passengers will also enjoy the benefits of a re-designed atrium area which will flood the station with light.

The £600 million Gateway project, a joint scheme between Birmingham City Council, Network Rail, Advantage West Midlands and Centro, will double passenger capacity and create:

  • a concourse that is three-and–a-half times bigger than at present and enclosed by a giant light-filled atrium
  • more accessible, brighter and clearer platforms, serviced by 42 new escalators and 14 new lifts
  • an iconic new station façade, adding to Birmingham's growing reputation for good design
  • better links to and through the station for pedestrians with eight new entrances
  • the stimulus for the physical regeneration of the areas surrounding the station leading to the potential creation of over 10,000 new jobs across the city.

Sir Bernard Zissman, chairman of the judging panel to choose the design commented:  "It has been a huge privilege to chair a panel of committed and experienced people dedicated to choosing a design which will bring to an end the tired and outdated image of New Street station giving such a poor impression of the City of Birmingham.

"Most rewarding of all was to experience the talented presentations of six leading global architects which made the choice one of the most challenging decisions of my career and I suspect of the entire panel too. We hope the chosen design will not just add to the revitalisation of the station and city centre but will give a sense of excitement and pleasure to the passengers who start or finish a journey as well as those who visit it to shop and enjoy themselves."

Iain Coucher, chief executive of Network Rail stated: "Passengers have come to expect better, quicker and more reliable journeys, and stations fit for the 21st century. We listened to the people of Birmingham and made New Street a top priority – with this new design we can be sure of a top class station for the millions of people who use it every year."

Mick Laverty, chief executive at Advantage West Midlands, said: "This region has a proud track record of reinvention and ingenuity – and you only need to look at the impressive design unveiled today to realise the ambition we have not only to create a memorable gateway into the region, but also to regenerate the south side of Birmingham city centre.

"Our £100 million contribution is the largest investment in a single project by any regional development agency in the country.

"It is an investment that will have real impact – New Street Gateway has a vital role to play in fulfilling the vision of the West Midlands as a global centre where people and businesses choose to connect."

Cllr Gary Clarke, chairman of Centro, the region's passenger transport authority, said: "This exciting design will see New Street station become an iconic landmark for the city. It is also an important step in our efforts to transform public transport in the West Midlands and create a truly world class system.

The concept designs will now be developed by an integrated team which will include Foreign Office Architects, WS Atkins (Lead Consultant) and Mace (Delivery Partner). The team will be led by Network Rail.


Notes to editors

The New Street Gateway Steering Group is made up of representatives from: Birmingham City Council, Network Rail, Centro and Advantage West Midlands.

The international design competition was co-ordinated by RIBA, on behalf of the funding partners. The final design was chosen by a panel of representatives from each of the funding partners, chaired by Sir Bernard Zissman.

The announcement marks the end of an international design competition which attracted 48 entries from around the globe.

Foreign Office Architects was formed in 1995 and has emerged as one of the most innovative practices of architecture and urban design in recent years. FOA's award winning work includes the Yokahoma International Port Terminal in Japan. For more information please go to: http://www.f-o-a.net/

or further information please visit our website: http://www.newstreetnewstart.co.uk

New Street in numbers:
• 35m - passengers who use New Street every year. They are delivered to the heart of the City, with direct access to the Bullring and other businesses
• 120,000 - people who pass through the station every day
• 60,000 - the amount of passengers per day New Street was designed to cater for when it was rebuilt in 1967
• 20 - the amount of times individual platforms at New Street have had to be closed in the last 12 months due to overcrowding
• £398m – the cost to the public purse of building New Street Gateway
• £2.3bn – the economic benefits of New Street station redevelopment
• £350 m - The amount Network Rail is investing in renewing the signalling systems through New Street and the West Midlands over the next ten years


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