Network Rail’s redevelopment of London Bridge station, while keeping it open for passengers, was one of the most successful projects of recent years. Based on a design by Grimshaw Architects, the station re-opened in May last year following a £1 billion transformation as part of the Thameslink Programme.
Now it has won the prestigious ‘Building of the Year’ accolade at this year’s AJ100 awards, organised by Architects’ Journal and held at the Tower of London on Wednesday 19 June 2019.
Designed by Grimshaw Architects, and containing striking architectural metalwork manufactured and installed by SAS International, London Bridge station was the “natural winner”, commended for its sustainability, ingenuity and modest grandeur.
Judges praised all those involved in the design and installation, using the project’s superior design and delivery as an example of construction at its very finest.
They also praised the scheme for being successful, not just as an infrastructure project, but as a civic development. One judge said: “This is a great piece of urbanism beyond its job as a station,” while another observed how the station previously acted as a wall, cutting the river off from its hinterland, but now Grimshaw’s design “reconnects the tissue of the city”.
The award is the third prestigious architecture prize which the station has received. Last month it won the RIBA London Award 2019 and was also named RIBA London Building of the Year 2019.
In a five-year build, the Thameslink Programme, a partnership between the Department for Transport, Network Rail, Govia Thameslink Railway, Southeastern and Siemens, created the largest street-level station concourse in the UK. Work included a major track upgrade, a new rail underpass on the approach to the station and platform widenings and extensions, all of which means 30 per cent more trains can use the station than before.
London Bridge is the oldest station in central London and the fourth busiest in the UK. It was originally built as two separate stations, but the rebuild means that, for the first time, passengers can reach all 15 platforms from one concourse.
Throughout the rebuild the station remained open to ensure rail services were maintained for the 50 million customers who use it each year.
John Halsall, Network Rail’s managing director for the Southern Region, said: “I am delighted that the London Bridge station project has once again been recognised as an example of great design and delivery. The station has been transformed into a transport hub fit for the future. This award recognises the vision of those who designed and planned this transformation and the skill and dedication of those who carried out the work. It is a breath-taking building in its own right and it is also helping bring new life to this area of London.”
Speaking on SAS International’s crucial involvement in the London Bridge station project, construction director Rik Lenney said: “We are delighted London Bridge station has won another incredible accolade. An outstanding achievement for all those involved”.
Other key companies who worked on the project included main contractors Costain and Balfour Beatty as well as structural and acoustic engineers and landscape architects WSP and Arcadis.
Grimshaw was also the recipient of the ‘Practice of the Year’ award at the AJ100 ceremony, beating seven other architectural practices to the title.