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Heatherwick to help shape HS2 design legacy

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Thomas Heatherwick is among a select group of designers and engineers who have been invited to help shape the design vision for HS2

The designer of the proposed Thames Garden Bridge is part of a group chosen from the UK’s creative and engineering industries to develop design concepts for all aspects of the £42.6bn project including future stations, railway stock and landscaping.

Led by ex-Design Council chief David Kester the 32-strong group, which also includes transport designer Paul Priestman and London Eye lead structural engineer Jane Wernick, has been selected to produce a Design Vision report which will be published later this year.  

The design concept has been adopted by HS2 following the success of a similar group set up for the London 2012 Olympic Games.

A spokesman for HS2 said: ‘This is a genuine effort to get the best we can from the HS2 project. We aim to make HS2 the gold standard of high speed rail. It is a big long-term project which will need visionary leadership when it comes to design of the facilities, whether they are the stations or the trains.’

Speaking at the event McLoughlin will say: ‘Great design is about utility, usability and delight. Great design creates things that are both useful and loved by those that use them. It creates landmarks.

‘We need HS2 to be as good as it possibly can be. Britain has some of the most talented, creative and intelligent designers and engineers working today. With HS2 there’s an opportunity to show the world what Great British design can do that will last for generations to come.’

HS2 Chairman David Higgins said: ‘We recognise that High Speed Two will affect those who use it and those who don’t, so we must seize that fact as an opportunity. How should stations reflect and enhance their surroundings? How should trains be designed to increase their efficiency and reduce their noise? In short how can it be the benchmark to which others refer, and how can we exploit this to the benefit of Britain’s design and engineering industries?

‘For HS2 to fulfil its transformational potential will mean that every aspect will need to be brilliantly considered and work hard for so many people: communities along the route, passengers; pretty much every UK citizen and visitors too. This is what great design and innovation can deliver and these are skills we have in abundance in this country.

‘It is excellent news for the project that the government and HS2 are placing a high priority on design and ingenuity.’

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Readers' comments (1)

  • This might be all about HS2 but hopefully there'll be a quality of design 'dividend' that can inform future development of the railways - some recent design has been of patchy quality, for example the improvements to Newport station.

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