While the judges commended the overall quality of this year’s shortlist, London Bridge Station proved the stand-out winner
‘Hugely impressive – a giant of a project’ and ‘does grandeur with huge modesty’ were just a couple of the comments that came out of their deliberations.
This is indeed a giant project, with construction taking five years on site and costing about £1 billion. The scheme saw the reconfiguration of nine rail lines with step-free access, a massive new concourse, new entrances and a reworked connection to the Underground network – all the while keeping the station open. The restructured station, designed to a masterplan devised by tp bennett with Alan Baxter, knits together other recent development around this major transport hub, including the reworked upper entrance level around the base of the Shard and the Thameslink network upgrade.
London Bridge Station by Grimshaw 02
The judges praised the resolution of such a layered and multifaceted brief. One commended how ‘the design process seems to have peeled away the complexity to come to the solution’, while another observed: ‘Such a complicated building, yet so much clarity’.
What was also noted was how Grimshaw had skilfully managed the huge team effort required for such a large and complex project. Judges praised its handling of the programme and the dynamic deadlines for the detailed design packages, commenting that this project provided a great example of a practice having built up huge expertise in a specific building type, then applying it to great effect.
They also praised the scheme for being successful not just as an infrastructure project, but as a civic development. ‘This is a great piece of urbanism beyond its job as a station,’ noted one judge. Another observed how the station previously acted as a wall, cutting the river off from its hinterland, while Grimshaw’s design ‘reconnects the tissue of the city’.
London Bridge Station by Grimshaw 05
In particular, the concourse has created a huge new public space. The judges praised this for bringing in light and air, making sense of the previously labyrinthine routes through the station and creating a new centre of gravity and sense of arrival appropriate to the station’s importance.
‘Cleverly made, incredibly efficient and very intelligent’ was how one judge described it. It is now ‘a joy to pass through the station,’ said one judge, ‘By virtue of the millions passing through it, it will have a huge positive social impact.’
London Bridge Station by Grimshaw 06
- Television Centre by Allford Hall Monaghan Morris
- Southbank Centre by Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios
- Beecroft Building, University of Oxford, by Hawkins\Brown
- The Richard A and Susan F Smith Campus Center, Harvard, by Hopkins
- Pitzhanger Manor & Gallery by Jestico + Whiles and Julian Harrap Architects
- No 1 Spinningfields, Manchester, by SimpsonHaugh
- Catherine Croft, director, The Twentieth Century Society
- Suzanne Ewing, architect and senior lecturer, University of Edinburgh
- Katharine Heron, professor of architecture, University of Westminster
- Tim Makower, principal, Makower Architects
- Jay Merrick, architecture critic
- Fiona Welch, architect, Collective Architecture
- Rob Wilson, architecture editor, The Architects’ Journal
- Fran Williams, technical editor, The Architects’ Journal
AJ100 Building of the Year sponsored by