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48 PROJECT REPORT: TRANSPORT FACILITIES & PUBLIC REALM


The station previously had a GRP-clad 1960s white concourse/entrance building, presenting a fairly nondescript face to the city, says Steel: “Something with greater presence was called for in what is a very visible position. In addition, “the new building needed to be bright, open, generous, accessible and legible, everything the original building was not,” says Steel. The original Victorian brick station which sits in a cutting below the new concourse building is retained, with its platform and metal zig-zag roof both curving to follow the railway line as it comes into the city after crossing the Tay. It then dips underneath the newly developed waterfront to remerge in the east end of Dundee, but rather than its overall physiology, the constraints the line presented for the site were the chief concern for the design team.


Arch rival


Following on from Jacobs’ initial work to create the road which now sits in front of the station, the emerging project to replace the concourse building was initially an engineering challenge. The new structure would have to span a main railway line – which was main practical reason behind its arch-like form. Graham Steel explains: “We were spanning two abutment walls, and coming in at different angles, reconciling different things, the geometry of the railway line coming in at an odd angle relative to the street grid that had been established by the council.”


There were fixed constraints – the level of the track, the roads above it, and the vertical and horizontal clearance needed for the trains. Steel says: “We were spanning across a railway cutting effectively with two bridges, one at concourse floor level, and another ‘bridge’ carrying the hotel floors above; it basically formed an arch.”


© Paul Zanre


In order to take the diagonal forces into the ground, the specially designed steel beams that make up the concourse floor tie the two ends of the bridge/arch together, dealing with the sideways ‘thrust’ forces. The depth of the floor was constrained by the road above and the clearance required from the trains below. The building is highly unusual in that it is articulated on plan, following the train line – and giving each hotel room above a slightly different view – however its structure is also curved in section, with a triple height arching entrance. Says Steel: “You wind up with an interesting concourse space which is very three-dimensional, but creates the situation where the building is wanting to lean over


WWW.ARCHITECTSDATAFILE.CO.UK ADF FEBRUARY 2019


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