Ian Ritchie Architects were commissioned in June 1995 by LB Newham to complete a feasibility study within two weeks for a combined domestic and international railway station at Stratford, East London, as part of the High Speed Channel Tunnel Rail Link connecting London with Paris an Brussels.
We developed two architectural strategies for efficient workable and economic station buildings. They took into account the probable civil engineering constraints, track configurations and station requirements shown in Union Railways’ preliminary designs. One was ‘underground’ and required fire authority approval, and the other was open. We obtained evidence from the London Fire Brigade that our design for the covered station was, in principle, perfectly acceptable.
Both options use the same basic station layout, with one option directly over the civil engineering and tracks and the other alongside them. The diagrammatic planning exploits a simplicity and legibility of organisation which follows the logical sequence of passenger and staff needs upon arrival and departure. The architectural forms of both options are a natural transformation of the station planning and the proposed high level pedestrian link to Stratford centre creating spacious, light and structurally expressive enclosures.
Subsequently, further feasibility studies were undertaken to demonstrate the commercial development potential of the surrounding area and how the station would fit into the town planning strategy for the area. Obviously the covered option offered more value and would avoid a great chasm in the centre of a new development.
The studies were successfully completed and formed part of the submission to the House of Lords’ Committee Hearing into the Channel Tunnel Rail Link Bill.