All change, please
Turnpike Lane Underground Station in north London is an early example of a transport interchange and one of the best early Modern transport buildings. Designed by Charles Holden in 1932 as part of the northwards extension of London Underground 's Piccadilly Line, and now listed Grade II, the two-storey brick and concrete station has curved hub-like ends with a projecting canopy at eaves and first floor level which gives the strong horizontal emphasis characteristic of that period. It was planned as an integrated bus, train and tram interchange point, with a complete bus forecourt at the rear of the main building and steps leading from the ticket hall to tram boarding position.
The trams were superseded by trolleybuses, which disappeared in 1961, and by the early 1990s the bus station had become too small for the number of buses using it, particularly the new generation of 12m long, low-floored vehicles that will shortly be introduced.
The architects, Roger Hall and Chris Mintikkis of the Rogers Partnership, in conjunction with the client, came up with a solution using a 1930s cinema adjacent to the station that the client also owned. The cinema - of no great architectural merit - was separated from the station by the existing bus slip road. The lease was bought back and the cinema demolished, allowing an expansion of the hardstanding area for buses.
The hive of transport activity is largely concealed behind the original street facade at the corner of Turnpike Lane crossroads; Holden's underground station dominates the corner and the retained facade of the shopping arcade in front of the cinema runs beside it.
'We wanted to design the new bus station as a modern counterpart to its distinguished neighbour, respecting the horizontal emphasis but using materials which are modern, easily maintained and vandal resistant, ' explains Mintikkis. And this had to be achieved within a complex footprint of original buildings and bus requirements.
Visualize the new station as a silver canopy over 50m long, extending into the hardstanding space. It springs from a twostorey brick building and terminates as a single-storey semi-cylindrical hub, clad with stainless steel - the bus station controller's office. Under the canopy is a series of glazed screens which curve to direct passengers to queuing and waiting areas. An informal waiting space at the centre is lit by three 3m diameter rooflights. Each is formed of two semicircles of 12mm toughened glass, supported on a 19mm glass fin. At night the rooflights are lit by blue lighting concealed in a circular light shelf at their bases.
At its other end, the canopy continues around the two-storey semi-elliptical hub building which is locked into the retained shopping arcade. It houses facilities - staff WCs, public WCs and a bus operator's office - and its staircase is lit with a wall of bluetinted glass blocks. Matching Holden's station, the canopy wraps around the curved end of the building at first floor level, flanked with curved metal windows.
The low maintenance and vandal-resistant materials chosen include stainless steel in the form of a textured rigidized sheet for cladding. The glazed screens to the waiting areas are polyester powder-coated steel and the ceiling is hemlock-veneered ply to give a warm feel.
The new bus station has not changed the streetscape but it has equipped Turnpike Lane to cope with future transport demands.