With advances in healthcare and burgeoning populations in the growing powerhouses of China and India, it was inevitable that the WAN AWARDS would separate its Urban Design category into two subsections: Urban Regeneration and Transport. Our Newsdesk is flooded each day with new infrastructure schemes and transport hubs, arching bridges and buzzing stations, and the first ever winners and highly commended projects in the WAN Transport Award are testament to the innovative design solutions being sought to support an expanding global population.
Taking the Completed category crown is AREP Ville with their stunning Wuhan Railway Station in China. This outstanding scheme looks to engage historic references with China's rapid architectural development in an exemplary station steeped in symbolism. For Dave Darnell, UK Rail Sector Director at WSP Engineers, this was a clear winner, as he enthused: "I'd like to be associated with that! I love it! Without being overly fussy, [AREP Ville] have been able to create space. I hope that as a high speed railway station and when HS2 eventually gets built within the UK, we have some stations that actually mirror that."
Hot on AREP Ville's heels was John McAslan + Partners' King's Cross Station Redevelopment in London. Noted as a ‘revelation' by Co-Founder of Bennetts Associates Denise Bennett, this rejuvenating scheme has received wide praise in the industry since its completion a few months ago. Bennetts continued: "We were so impressed with the King's Cross scheme; the great thing with the St Pancras/King's Cross scheme is it's a massive campus and this is a component part. When the whole scheme is complete it will be a world beater."
Whilst the entire jury were bowled over by John McAslan + Partners' completed project, it was just pipped at the post by the Wuhan Railway Station and was therefore given a Highly Commended status. The size and scale of AREP Ville's project impressed our jurors and the manner in which the architects handled the brief was the award-winning factor. Alastair Lansley, Chief Architect of St Pancras Station concluded of AREP Ville: "They know how to design stations; this is a very nice solution."
Next to the Unbuilt category, and to Snøhetta who were awarded the winning title for their Houston Central Station in Texas by an enthusiastic jury. The studio's concept involves an ingenious canopy at the exiting station which harnesses Houston's heavy rainfall and turns it into a positive attribute; sheltering passengers from the wind and rain whilst supplying them with an aesthetically pleasing water feature.
Bennetts explained: "I love this for the fact that there is a celebration of public transport in the public realm. Much smaller in scale in relation to the rest of the schemes here today which is interesting, but we feel that it absolutely captured the innovation aspect of these awards. It is actually looking at new ways of letting people wait in a queue to get onto their transport, so I would love to see this actually built."
Another project the panel are keen to see realised is 10 Design's Infinity Loop Bridge in Zhuhai, China. Given a status of Highly Commended, 10 Design's concept was praised for its ‘beautiful' design by the architects and engineers on our panel, Darnell concluding: "As a civil engineer, I think this is extremely elegant."
Congratulations to all our winning and highly commended firms from all at WAN!
Wuhan Railway Station, Wuhan, China - AREP Ville
Completed Highly Commended
King's Cross Station Redevelopment, London, United Kingdom - John McAslan & Partners
Unbuilt Highly Commended
Infinity Loop Bridge, Zhuhai, China - 10 Design