The three-stage competition invites architects, engineers and designers to draw up a range of solutions to ensure local stations – which vary in quality across Great Britain – better serve the needs of both passengers and their local communities while also supporting net zero sustainability targets and delivering outstanding value.
The contest follows the publication of a Think Station report compiled by the Design Council through a series of industry workshops outlining a fresh approach to the design, development and procurement of local stations. Network Rail manages around 2,000 small to medium-sized local stations across England, Wales and Scotland – representing 80 per cent of its overall portfolio.
Anthony Dewar, head of buildings and architecture at Network Rail, said: ‘Fostering creativity and developing an outward-looking, collaborative culture is a key priority for Network Rail, so I’m delighted we are hosting this competition, which gives designers a unique opportunity to leave a lasting legacy on our railway and improve the journeys of millions of passengers through quality design.
‘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. 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.’
Rail minister Chris Heaton-Harris said: ‘For two centuries the UK has been at the cutting edge of rail innovation, and our forefathers enticed our towns and cities with some of the most iconic and beautiful stations in the world.
‘Harnessing creativity and ambition through competitions like this will help us carry on that great spirit of design that delivers better journeys for passengers. This competition will help build the railway of tomorrow, ensuring we continue to modernise and improve our railway, making it welcoming and accessible for all passengers.’
Network Rail is responsible for the maintenance and upgrading of the country’s 32,000km railway network. The organisation is mid-way through a £38 billion investment programme which will increase electrification and capacity on many routes.
In 2018, Danish practice Gottlieb Paludan Architects won an RIBA-run contest for Network Rail to rethink pedestrian footbridges across the organisation’s 40,000ha estate.
The latest competition comes just four months after Network Rail and LFA revealed the five winning designs in a competition to create a series of benches at some of London’s most famous train stations.
The brief for the latest competition was developed following a series of Think Station workshops – led by the Design Council – which saw a cross-disciplinary range of transport sector experts brought together to collectively thrash out the next generation of station environments.
The 11 invitation-only events took place between November and late January in London, Manchester, Bristol and Glasgow. Supporting companies included AKTII, Landolt + Brown Architects and WilkinsonEyre.
Key priorities outlined in the Think Station report include: supporting existing and new communities in local areas; reflecting and emboding local character and heritage; providing consistent quality of space and service; establishing connections with town centres and high streets; improving access to green and open spaces; welcoming and facilitating inclusive travel; supporting cross modal transport; helping to address climate change; and ensuring longevity by accommodating changes of use, capacity and trends.
Six finalists will receive £20,000 +VAT each to participate in the second phase of the competition following an initial open anonymous call for design proposals. Three winners will each enter into a services contract – worth up to £250,000 and subject to negotiation – to develop their design solutions further.
Judges will include Dewar, Publica founding director Lucy Musgrave; Jonathan McDowell, director of Matter Architecture; Chris Wise, senior director at Expedition Engineering; Royal Designer for Industry Dinah Casson; Sahar Fikouhi, founder of ARki; and Frank Anatole, principal architect at Network Rail.
The deadline for applications is 2pm on 15 September.
How to apply
Visit the competition website for more information
No 1 Aire Street
Tel: 0113 203 1490