Long-awaited Slough Bus Station by bblur architecture now open for business
bblur architecture’s curvaceous design for Slough Bus Station is highly controversial. Part of the £450m Heart of Slough scheme, which looks to enliven the area with a host of new 8-14 storey commercial buildings and this transport facility, the undulating canopy is located opposite the existing listed mainline railway station and replaces a number of derelict offices, the original bus station, and a multi storey car park.
The design has been compared to a basking shark and a fish, and now complete has drawn mixed reviews from local residents and architecture critics. Commenting on WAN’s last report on the project, Peter Daniells from Cookham conveys: “The wavy roof is so high that wind and rain blow in on passengers waiting below, as I’m sure the snow will do in winter. The ‘waiting room’ which is still unfinished [as of 12/06/11] and locked out of use, looks big enough to hold about a dozen people, and is too far from the bus stands for people to be able to see when their bus has arrived.”
In contrast, other users have applauded the slick designs, Julia Green from London deeming it ‘Absolutely amazing!’ and Samuel from Mullingar admitting ‘This is forward thinking and a departure from mainstream bus station designs. We should expect more eye catching designs from this architect’.
The station itself is clad in aluminium shingles which form a rich, textured metallic surface, alternating in colour as the weather changes through the seasons. A 130m canopy and pedestrian walkway form the heart of the development and offer passengers space to await the arrival of their next bus either on the covered platform or in a separate waiting room. This canopy is anchored by a 660 sq m volume with views across the neighbouring rail station, encompassing a public cafe, the interior waiting area, a newsagent, bus operator facilities, information point and ticket office.
Matthew Bedward, Founding Partner of bblur and lead architect on the project explains: “We took the opportunity to significantly improve pedestrian permeability between the train station and the town centre. Our client tasked us to create a memorable front door for Slough. The form of the building derives from the idea of different wavelengths of light inspired by Astronomer Royal, William Herschel’s discovery of infra-red waves in 1800 while a resident of Slough.”