High Speed 2 (HS2) has launched an international search for architects to deliver four new stations in London and Birmingham
The contracts – worth £220 million in total – cover Euston Station, Old Oak Common in west London, Birmingham Interchange and Birmingham Curzon Street. The search for a ‘master development partner’ to design, build and manage the multibillion-pound regeneration of Euston Station has also begun.
The Euston redevelopment project, which is opposed by the mayor of London, will transform a 21ha swathe of the capital, including the existing station buildings and many surrounding homes and businesses. There are also hopes that Philip Hardwick’s Euston Arch could be resurrected after being controversially demolished 65 years ago.
Preliminary designs propose a new HS2 terminal, 3,800 homes and 280,000m² of commercial space. The chosen development partner will work with the winning station design architect to maximise the oversite development and win outline planning permission for the surrounding masterplan before financing and delivering the scheme in time for the opening of the £56 billion HS2 line in 2033.
Transport minister Andrew Jones said: ‘The search for design teams to produce plans for new stations and world-class amenities for London Euston, Old Oak Common, Birmingham Interchange and Birmingham Curzon Street stations is a major step towards making HS2 a catalyst for growth across the country.
‘The winning bidders will need to ensure the stations provide the best possible customer experience. There are also huge opportunities for development near all the HS2 stations. HS2 is progressing its search for a partner to deliver new homes, shops and offices around Euston station once the core HS2 work is complete.’
Under the terms of the procurement, bidders will be able to bid for all four station packages but will be limited to winning a maximum of two, and only one of the two London station packages. Interested bidders will be shortlisted in the summer, with HS2 expected to award the contracts early next year.
The Euston redevelopment will be worth more than half of the £220 million total contract value. The contracts will be a mixture of design and programme management work, with HS2 expecting to see design and programme management teams partnering for the contracts.
The four stations are all in the project’s first phase and due to complete in 2026., Initial proposals have been drawn up by Grimshaw (Euston), Weston Williamson (Old Oak Common), Arup (Birmingham Interchange) and WilkinsonEyre (Birmingham Curzon Street). In February, WilkinsonEyre also replaced Grimshaw on the concept design contract for Euston Station.
The announcement comes two years after Old Oak and Park Royal Development Corporation chief executive Victoria Hills told AJ a competition for a landmark HS2 station in west London was on the cards.
It also follows criticism of HS2 chairman David Higgins’ preference for cost-reducing standardisation and economies of scale. Competition organiser Malcolm Reading warned in 2015 that this would come at the expense of ‘good design creating a sense of place and wonder’.
HS2 will connect London to Birmingham in its first phase, extending to Manchester and Leeds in its second phase. It is expected to be fully complete by 2033.
Commenting on the launch, HS2 commercial director Beth West said: ‘We’re looking for the brightest and the best from across the industry to help us deliver one of the most tangible legacies of the HS2 project: three brand stations and a major expansion of London Euston.
‘All four present unique challenges and opportunities for the winning bidders. Together we will deliver world-class designs that help unlock wider local regeneration opportunities and provide unparalleled levels of accessibility, ease and convenience for the travelling public.’
David Biggs, managing director of Network Rail Property added: ‘Network Rail welcomes the opportunity to create a new London destination at Euston, mirroring its neighbour King’s Cross and St Pancras where our investment in the station acted as a catalyst, bringing inward investment and regenerating the whole area into a thriving new London quarter.
‘The HS2 terminal at Euston will have a similar effect, it will become the initial focus for the wider regeneration of the station and surrounding area with an opportunity to create a new vibrant commercial and residential district in the heart of London with fantastic connectivity to the rest of the UK and Europe.’
HS2 design panel chair Sadie Morgan previously called on contractors to team up with architects when bidding for new work on the project. Full details of the professional teams – either already appointed or currently bidding – for works and civils packages can be found on the HS2 website.
The deadline for applications for stations designs is noon, 8 May. Teams interested in bidding for Euston’s master development partner have until noon, 17 May.
How to apply
High Speed Two (HS2) Limited
Two Snowhill, Queensway
Tel: +44 2079443000
Laura Kidd, HS2 head of architecture
Laura Kidd, HS2 head of architecture
Why are you now seeking architects for the four major HS2 stations and a Euston development partner?
With royal assent secured in February, HS2 now has the legal powers to begin construction of what will be one of the largest infrastructure projects in Europe. As part of that we need to refine and finalise the detailed designs for our four stations – Birmingham Curzon Street, Birmingham Interchange and London’s Old Oak Common and London Euston. This work will be led by the winners of the stations design contracts and, besides architects, will also include (but is not limited to) design managers, engineers, cost planners and estimators, environmental and health and safety specialists. To deliver the programme, we need to get our design partners on board next year, with start of construction at the station sites the following year.
What is your vision for the new HS2 stations and their surrounding areas?
Hs2 is looking for creative and innovative designers to seize the opportunity of designing stations that will inspire and deliver a lasting legacy. This legacy will be realised by facilitating local area regeneration ambitions with designs that integrate with the local area plans to achieve the delivery of new jobs and homes. This will give many opportunities for local as well as international designers and architects. The station designers will need to meet with the HS2 design vision; creating people centred design that provided stations that give an inspirational setting and responds to the needs of all, provide a contextual design response that gives a unique identity for each station and provides an architectural expression that can stand the test of time.
What sort of architects and designers are you hoping will apply?
The procurement seeks to select the best multi-disciplinary design firms who will undergo a rigorous series of assessments. HS2 has embedded its strategic objectives, including the design visions in the selection criteria to make sure well-balanced design firms, who are capable of delivering some of HS2’s most important designs, are selected.
Which other design opportunities are on the horizon and how will the architects be procured?
A separate contest, also launched last week, will seek a master development partner to advise on, and later take forward, development opportunities for new homes, offices and retail space above and around the revamped London Euston. The winner will work with HS2, Network Rail, the station design contract winner and local authorities to deliver a unified plan to unlock the full potential of the area.
Are there any other similar high speed stations and over-site developments you have been impressed by?
As HS2 has developed its station requirements and aspirations by consulting with industry experts and the supply chain including designers and operators of significant high speed and conventional stations world-wide. This has crystallised HS2’s understanding of design excellence and clarified the requirements of a first rate passenger experience.
The four stations
- Birmingham Curzon Street
HS2 will deliver a brand new station in the heart of Birmingham. Curzon Street will be built on the site of a former parcel depot next to the existing Moor Street Station and the Bullring shopping centre.
Curzon Street is at the centre of Birmingham City Council’s Curzon Street Masterplan which includes 14,000 new jobs and 600,000m² of new development space across Eastside and Digbeth. An extension to the Midland Metro will also provide a connection to Birmingham’s new tram network.
A public plaza at the western (city centre) end of the station will welcome passengers to what will be the largest building in Birmingham. Seven 400m long platforms providing services to core HS2 destinations as well as beyond, to the North West, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Newcastle and the North East.
- Birmingham Interchange
A new station with four platforms close to the National Exhibition Centre, to the east of the M42 near Solihull. A people-mover system will provide a direct link to Birmingham International station, the National Exhibition Centre and Birmingham Airport.
Plans for new development around the station site led by the local authorities as part of the UK Central plan are expected to create more than 77,000 new jobs and 4,000 new homes.
- London Euston
Opened in 1837, Euston was London’s first intercity train station. It was completely rebuilt in the early 1960s and now caters for around 42 million passengers a year – more than double the design capacity of the current station.
The development will happen in three stages:
1. Six new high-speed platforms and a concourse area built to the west of the existing station to support the opening of Phase One services in 2026
2. Five existing platforms closed and rebuilt as high-speed platforms, including an extended concourse to support Phase Two services. 2026-2033
3. Eleven high-speed platforms in operation. Redevelopment of the remaining 13 platforms to be led by Network Rail, subject to future funding and approvals.
The staged approach to building the high-speed terminus means existing services can continue to operate, reducing both disruption for passengers and the effects on the community as a whole at any one time.
The provision of underpinning support structures as part of the plans will allow a range of uses above the station, delivering the flexibility for a future decision on the wider redevelopment and regeneration of the station and area. These opportunities will be taken forward by the Euston Master Development Partner. It is expected that the wider redevelopment could create more than 14,000 jobs.
London Underground facilities at Euston will also be significantly enhanced with passengers benefiting from greater space and connections to services including a new ticket hall and direct subway to Euston Square tube station. Access to taxis, buses and cycles will also be greatly improved.
- Old Oak Common
HS2 will deliver a brand new station in the heart of one of the UK’s largest regeneration projects, making Old Oak Common one of the best connected locations anywhere in the country. Six platforms will provide direct HS2 services to core destinations as well as places beyond the core network to places such as Liverpool, the North West, Glasgow and Edinburgh.
The station will also include connections via Crossrail to Heathrow and central London and mainline rail services from London Paddington to Wales and the west of England.
The transformation of the former railway sidings and light industrial zone is being led by the mayor of London’s Old Oak and Park Royal Development Corporation, which aims to create a thriving new community with up to 65,000 new jobs and 25,500 new homes.