In 1959, Norman Foster told his architectural tutors he wanted to design an interchange as his thesis project, writes Paul Finch.The idea was rejected, on the grounds that an interchange was not 'architecture', but 'infrastructure'. How times have changed, not only for Lord Foster, who of course went on to design the world's largest airport in Hong Kong, but for architecture as a whole. Infrastructure projects, most obviously the stations on the Jubilee Line Extension, are now seen as valuable commissions - and the more integrated they are with other forms of transport the better.
In view of the recent transport chaos in Britain, there could scarcely be a better time to launch an event dedicated to the better provision and promotion of integrated transport - a concept which until recently has all too often been ignored both in principle and in practice.
Historically, the transport market has often been so fragmented in Britain that integration has been consciously rejected. Think, for example, of the way in which the mainline termini in London never meet, except (for some of them) courtesy of the Circle Line Underground route. Look at the way in which much-needed integration fails to take place (at Luton Airport you need to take a coach to get to the station). It will have taken 20 years to link London City Airport to the rest of the transport system when the spur to the Docklands Light Railway is complete.
Happily, the government's recognition that a modern economy needs integrated transport has resulted in multibillionpound financial strategies over the next 10 years, with significant implications for the construction industry as a whole. Now Emap, owner of The Architects' Journal, with its joint venture partner Montgomery Exhibitions, is launching 'Interchange', the first significant integrated transport exhibition event. It takes place from 3-5 April next year in the new Excel Centre in London's Royal Docks. It comprises a series of high-profile conferences, networking opportunities (Interchange Exchange), an exhibition (Interchange Showcase) and an awards event (the Integrated Transport Awards).
The event, supported by the Department of Environment, Transport and the Regions (DETR) and the government's Commission for Integrated Transport, will be opened by transport minister Lord Macdonald, who will also chair a keynote session. The Interchange advisory board is chaired by former transport minister Steve Norris, who is also president of the event and chairman of the awards programme. Terry Farrell is a member of the advisory board.
Interchange is supported by a wide range of Emap publications including the AJ, Construction News, New Civil Engineer, Rail, Coach and Bus Week, Transit, Fleet News and Local Government Chronicle.
Further details from www.interchangeplus.com
What's in it for architects?
VISITORS AND EXHIBITORS: Interchange is relevant for architects involved in (or who want to be involved in) transport projects of all types. Exhibitors and visitors to the show will include the whole gamut of transport sector clients, advisers, planners, designers and product manufacturers. (For stands call Chris Hudson, tel 020 7505 6825)
CONFERENCES: There will be three parts to the conference programme Internet Exchange.The first takes place on the first two days, covering the broad field of integrated transport strategy and the achievements of the DETR and Commission for Integrated Transport policies. User group and special interest group feedback will be incorporated. The second part is a specialist conference on recruitment, training and development. See below for the third.
DESIGNING INTERCHANGES: This is the third element of the conference programme and will take place on 5 April. It will comprise case studies of interchange design. Speakers will include Terry Farrell, Alan Baxter and Chris Wilkinson. Further details will be announced shortly.
AWARDS: The Integrated Transport Awards will take place at the Park Lane Hilton on the evening of 4 April. Details from www.interchangeplus.com
REGENERATION: The existing Thames Gateway annual exhibition on regeneration has been incorporated into Interchange.
Exhibitors will include local authorities, developers and major employers.
SPECIAL AJ ISSUE: The AJwill be publishing an issue devoted to transport and transport design at the end of March.
Architects with relevant projects are invited to send details to Austin Williams, 151 Rosebery Avenue, London EC1R 4GB.