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Winning design to improve smaller stations

A railway station design that includes its own renewable energy generation has won a competition to shape Britain’s future railways.

Network Rail and the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) have chosen Edinburgh-based 7N Architects’ entry for a station design that considers the needs of passengers and local communities.

It also aligns with our aspirations to be carbon neutral by 2050 with the capacity to generate renewable energy to provide most of a station’s power.

The contest sought architects, engineers and designers from around the world to re-imagine how small to medium-sized stations could improve your travelling experience.

It attracted more than 200 entries from designers based in 34 countries.

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7N's future station design competition winning entry, aerial view
7N’s winning design for a future railway station

Winning concept

7N’s proposed station frontage includes an eye-catching clock tower, which serves a strong civic purpose as a local landmark and a natural meeting place for social activities.

Beyond the station entrance, elegant, sweeping platform canopies provide shelter for passengers. The modular station design can be integrated into a variety of locations that complement the local landscape.         

Click on the gallery for more pictures of 7N’s design

Panel members said 7N had cleverly pared back its winning concept to create an open and flexible system that would transform your experience of the station.

The design also cleverly incorporates renewable energy generation with translucent photovoltaic panels, which also provide dappled shade and shelter from rain.  

7N Architects will now work closely with Network Rail project representatives to develop its design into a formal proposal that addresses a prescribed set of technical requirements, including consideration of construction methodology.

A station for the 21st century

Anthony Dewar, head of Buildings and Architecture at Network Rail, said: “This competition offered a unique opportunity to reimagine what a railway station can be in the 21st century, creating an environment that better serves the passengers and communities who rely on the British railway network and leave a lasting legacy on station design. I would like to congratulate 7N Architects on their winning entry and I look forward to seeing how they will bring their design to life.”   

Chris Heaton-Harris, Rail Minister, said: “7N Architects’ innovative concept puts passengers right at the heart of its design, from the sweeping canopies providing shelter from the elements and generating power, to the station’s frontage serving as a local landmark.

“Harnessing creative and forward-thinking ideas in competitions like this will be a game-changer when it comes to designing stations of the future that deliver a first-class experience for all passengers. I look forward to seeing this become a reality.”

Better design around the railway

Improving design – of stations and structures – is important to us. In 2019, we launched the Design Advice Panel, and new design principles to ensure better value and outcomes for the long term.

It’s made up of a range of built environment specialists who will review design proposals at an earlier stage of a project than has been typical in the past.

Design advice can help ensure compliance throughout the design, planning and delivery stages across themes such as safety, architectural assurance and inclusive design.

It leads to better construction that takes into account aesthetics, heritage, passenger requirements and human behaviour.

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