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Birmingham station design compared to Shoebox, Nintendo and Drive-through Starbucks

Birmingham station design compared to Shoebox, Nintendo and Drive-through Starbucks

Designers for the new Perry Bar railway station in Birmingham have compared it to the Schubox, Nintendo console and drive-through Starbucks, railway engineers and local politicians.

Plans for the station’s redevelopment were submitted to Birmingham City Council this week, with pictures showing the design released.

The building will have multiple entrances, a ticket office, an accessible toilet and baby change facility, an out-of-hours entrance, elevators and new stairs. Further improvements include step-free access, planters, passenger seating and bicycle racks.

However, these designs backfired when railway engineer and author Gareth Dennis described it as the “worst” he had ever seen for a station.

Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council Heads of Projects & Delivery Vicky Smith joined the discussion on Twitter, saying he thought the station was “a site hut for the contractor”.

Meanwhile Birmingham Labor Councilor John Ozia said the area was “good”.

Former Transport Secretary Andrew Adonis also said on Twitter that it was difficult to tell about the design from the weight photos, but that he would “see” next time he was in Birmingham. (See below for the Twitter reaction.)

Dennis – who likens design to shoebox – said NCE The current station has at least a “little letter”.

“It looks like an old retro movie,” he said. “You can not say it does not fit with the fabric of the street, but will be replaced with a clean car park with it as a temporary shed.”

Dennis called for the station to be incorporated into the “wider urban fabric” and for the building to become “something”.

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“At the moment it’s nothing – it’s not even ugly,” he said. “It should be of interest and pride to the local people. That does not mean it should be expensive and complicated. An exposed brick building should be better than this. The railways should have a sense of purpose and permanence and this building will not do those things.”

Dennis said the design “seems to adhere to none” of the nine principles of good design of network rail.

He said: “For me the station should be a mixed utility development, so you want to have some local businesses there.

“The road space needs to be put to good use. The roads around it need to be modified so that passengers do not get stuck on the way out of the station.

Network Rail Principles of Good Design

  • Identity
  • Passengers
  • Community focus
  • Cooperative
  • Inclusive
  • Connected
  • Contextual
  • Increases inheritance
  • Innovative

Galliford Tri won the design and build contract for the project in March this year.

The station is due to be completed on time for the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, and according to Dennis it is adding “unnecessary stress” in terms of time and budget.

“Like any project you control both sides of the triangle of cost, time and scope, the third is limited. In this case the West Midlands Combined Authority wants to control the cost and time and if they do so the quality production will be dismal, which is what happened here,” he said.

A spokesman for Transport for the West Midlands said the project was “primarily considered one of the oldest railway station buildings in the area”.

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The spokesman added: “The proposed new building will address many of the shortcomings of the existing station by adding multiple, fully accessible entrances and lifts to the platforms and creating a safer environment, especially for passengers.

“Further feedback from residents and potential customers of the rebuilt station has been welcomed and is part of the ongoing planning process. Confirms.

Twitter reaction

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