CENTRAL: LONDON BRIDGE
The Shard is already making an unmistakable impression on the London skyline, but down below, there is another development that will improve life for an even wider catchment area – the 54 million people who travel through London Bridge Station every year.
London Bridge Quarter includes not only another significant building at the foot of Europe’s tallest tower, but a completely redeveloped transport hub, bringing together bus, train and tube services in a much more user-friendly and pleasant space. As well as providing engineering design on the Shard itself and on 17-storey London Bridge Place for client Sellar, WSP is lead transport consultant within the station.
“London Bridge is a major transport interchange,” says Paul Speirs, technical director of
property & development at WSP. “When it was originally designed, there was no underground or bus station there, so the infrastructure has had to cope with ever-growing demand.”
WSP’s designers have been future-proofing the designs, using pedestrian modelling analysis to accommodate demand for the next 60 years. The existing bus station is already on a constrained site, but it had to be upgraded for not only buses but taxis and pedestrians as well. “There are three different developments – the Shard, Network Rail’s transformation of the station, and the Place – and each has different demands,” says technical director Lee Hailey, who has been leading the WSP team on the bus station.
The Place sits right in the middle of the site, and the new building has been designed to gracefully
accommodate two lanes of the bus station running over the basement slab, expanding back to its full floorplate several storeys up. “The geometry is very constrained, but we’ve managed to squeeze it in so that all the necessary improvements can happen,” says Hailey.
Hailey’s team were responsible not only for the finished designs, but for overcoming the logistical headache of rebuilding an improved transport hub while keeping the old one operational, in the shadow of two major buildings. “We’ve got nine different phases that effectively isolate sections of the bus station, move the buses around while the works carry on, and then move them back.”
Meanwhile, underneath there willl be a new entrance corridor
WEST: EARLS COURT
WSP is playing an important role in the development planning of Earls Court, one of London’s most significant regeneration projects. The masterplan was launched at the MIPIM property conference in March and covers a 32ha site straddling the Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea and London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham.
“This is an exceptional opportunity,” says Ian Liddell, head of development planning at WSP, which has been providing transport and development planning services for the last four years. “The site’s scale and location mean there are exciting possibilities to create and repair connections across the wider area, capitalising on excellent
public transport links. Transport is absolutely key to this project.”
The site is designated an Opportunity Area in the Mayor’s London Plan and, despite its size, there are only three landowners – Capital & Counties, the London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham and Transport for London. Masterplanned by Sir Terry Farrell, the development will include around 1 million m2 of new space – mostly residential, alongside offices, schools, a medical centre, leisure and community facilities and retail outlets.
WSP aims to set the stage for an exceptional mixed-use development on and around the site, making it easy for people
to walk and cycle. To this end, Liddell’s team have considered a whole range of transport and design issues, from the big picture to the smallest details. This has included feasibility studies to determine how much development the existing and improved infrastructure could support, and working closely with the architects to develop a high-quality public realm. “We are taking the Manual for Streets guidance, which we helped to write, and working with the project team to put that into practice,” he explains.
The development programme runs up to the year 2032, and while Liddell knows that WSP’s strategy and design may have to adapt over that time, he says the
team have tried to future-proof them as much as possible. “The client takes a long-term view of this development, so we have to anticipate demographic change, changes in mobility, technological change and how lifestyles will need to adapt to the challenges of the future. That is an exciting part of the process and a major challenge for us.”
to the underground ticket hall. Construction has not yet started, but thanks to WSP’s pedestrian modelling expertise, Speirs and his team already know how passengers will use the space.
In fact, it was these models that convinced Sellar and Transport for London to make one of the biggest alterations – a new access corridor lined with retail space, called the Joiner Street link. “On paper, everyone thought it would be chaos,” says Speirs. “But we showed that it actually improves the situation. This allows the client to create the retail environment they want and make more out of the asset. The models make interpreting the plans really simple – in the end, it was a unanimous decision.”
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