The WAN Transport Award 2013 presented the panel with a fascinating and challenging judging day which at times posed a bit of a dilemma. It is difficult at the best of times for a transport project to be viewed purely in the solitary light of transport, particularly when it potentially brings so many other societal benefits from the most complex urban regeneration to restoring past transport heritage for future generations or simply and effectively brightening a streetscape.
The panel tasked with this difficult challenge were Hiro Aso, Director of Urban Infrastructure Unit at John McAslan + Partners; Philip Bates, Director at Buro Happold, Anthony Leslie, Vice President at HOK and Tony Meadows, Founder and Principal of Tony Meadows Associates.
Firstly to the Future projects and first on to the list was Värtaterminalen in Stockholm by CF Moller, a new ferry terminal to the Baltics which Tony Meadows liked stating ‘it seems to engulf an awful lot of stuff that's difficult to hide'. It was generally praised for its beautiful, even bleak Scandinavian understated simplicity.
Washington Union Station in Washington DC by HOK was next onto the list, partly for an engaging roof but also the fact that it was as Philip Bates observed trying to pack a lot in in the form of new rail infrastructure and the alignment of the trains was particularly interesting.
Main Station Stuttgart by Ingenhoven Architects drew general praise for its confidence in design and ability to link new high speed rail with older lines to create a terminal that would be a fascinating addition to Stuttgart and ‘doesn't feel like a railway station'.
The last future project onto the shortlist is Georgia Multi-Modal Passenger Terminal in Atlanta by FXFOWLE. Anthony Leslie liked the ambition, particularly the ‘bringing together and knitting back the city with the transportation and linking them all. Fabulous'.
Moving on to the Built projects, Malmö Central Station in Sweden by Metro Arkitekter drew special praise for bringing together old and new whilst doing its best to capture ‘the best light probably in the world'. Hiro Aso noted ‘it's very industrial, very simple, it's all about movement, it's all about connection back to the city.'
Scale Lane Bridge in Kingston Upon Hull, United Kingdom by McDowell + Benedetti was quickly put onto the shortlist as it was an excellent and well used project that went ‘way beyond being just a bridge'.
Kings Cross Station in London by John McAslan + Partners was the final project onto the shortlist as, not only did it restore a London terminus and vastly improve the passenger experience but as Tony Meadows noted, ‘it is a place to be. I sometimes meet people here for a coffee and I'm not even there to catch a train'.
We wish to extend our heartiest congratulations to those that made it to the shortlist. The judges were given a real challenge with the depth and range of projects presented to them and demonstrated that transport is never just transport.