A transport project always produces unique challenges as new networks and technologies are introduced or older infrastructure and buildings are upgraded to take ever higher passenger numbers or traffic. Transport is also quite a schizophrenic sector as it can serve as a piece of urban regeneration, knitting together once disparate neighbourhoods.
The judging session for the WAN Transport Award 2013 produced unique challenges of its own; the need to judge a transport project in the pure light of transportation and the passenger experience. In the end this proved impossible as a transport scheme is only part of a far bigger jigsaw in terms of where it sits.
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.
The project winner in the 'Completed' category is Scale Lane Bridge in Kingston Upon Hull, United Kingdom by McDowell + Benedetti, Philip Bates liked it very much from the start stating: "It’s just full on. It takes it beyond being just a bridge." Anthony Leslie, agreed: "It definitely exceeds its brief. It achieved more than just crossing some water and missing some ships that need to come up and down. It’s done in a very appealing way. You can see how it has already generated a positive impact on the environment."
In the end it proved impossible to separate a social agenda with transport and, with any Future Scheme, it was felt that it all had to come down to the project with the most potential. The 'Future Scheme' winner is Georgia Multi-Modal Passenger Terminal in Atlanta by FXFOWLE for its sheer ambition. As Hiro Aso noted: "There is great potential to make transportation really exciting and part of the story. There is clearly a regenerative [story] and it is formidable for that."
There were two Highly Commended projects. In the 'Completed' categorry Kings Cross Station in London by John McAslan + Partners took the accolade. Tony Meadows noted that, like the Scale Lane Bridge project, ‘both have offered something more than they were supposed to offer’. Anthony Leslie thought Kings Cross was a ‘very positive vote of confidence in transport. It’s a very optimistic building’.
For the Future Schemes, Washington Union Station in Washington DC by HOK drew the eye of the judges and the high commendation as Philip Bates stated: "Breaking the levels of the trains and having that very open effect would be very interesting and different experience."
We wish to offer our heartiest congratulations to the winners and extend our thanks to all who participated. It would appear that just catching a bus or a train is only part of a far bigger story in societal terms.
WAN AWARDS Co-ordinator