Reinvigorated Newport Station design embraces dividing effect of railway tracks
An Atkins/Grimshaw team has redesigned Newport Station for Network Rail as part of a citywide regeneration masterplan by Newport Unlimited. Newport is bisected by the railway tracks and as a result, each half of the city has developed its own character. Grimshaw’s design embraces this divide, creating two major new concourses.
The North Concourse is on the civic side of the city and focuses on the needs of commuters. The South Concourse, on the commercial side, is for connecting travellers, day-trippers and tourists. Each terminal’s function is reflected in the distribution of ancillary facilities around the station. Ticket facilities and platform access are split equally between the two terminals.
All the main facilities at both terminals are housed in continuous ETFE and aluminium clad spirals. The spiral form of the station mirrors the journey taken within and helps to ease traffic flow by guiding the passenger from ground level up to the connecting bridge and back down onto the platforms. The use of an ETFE wrap over a steel structure not only creates a very bright and airy space but also, due to the lightness of the material, means the building requires a minimal support structure. This brightness of space is compounded by the inclusion of an oculus at the peak of each building, which doubles as a compression ring to secure the structure.
The old station had a single terminal at the end of elongated platforms and many passengers entering and exiting trains are faced with a long walk to and from the concourse. There was also very little provision for disabled access across the tracks. Therefore, the terminals and their connecting bridge have been positioned relative to the trains stopping positions, easing access and offering stronger connections to the city. Pedestrian routes surrounding the station have also been upgraded.