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Sadie Morgan heads up new HS2 design review panel


The co-founder of dRMM, Sadie Morgan, has been appointed to lead a panel overseeing all the design on the HS2 rail link

Morgan will head up the independent group which will look into every design aspect of the £42.6 billion infrastructure project between London and Birmingham.

Speaking about her appointment, a ‘delighted’ Morgan said: ‘From website to way finding, ticketing to trains – the remit of the design panel will be all encompassing.

‘As the single biggest infrastructure project the UK has ever undertaken, HS2 will touch the lives of millions of people.

‘Great design is integral to making sure that HS2 achieves its full potential, from the beginning to the end of the journey. This includes not only landscape and station design but the entire passenger experience.

The remit of the design panel will be all encompassing

She added: ‘We’ll deliver a project that everyone can be proud of, that speaks a national language yet respects regional dialects. Outstanding design will ensure a step-change in railway travel for this century and beyond.’

Commenting on Morgan’s appointment, HS2 chief executive, Simon Kirby, said: ‘I am extremely pleased that Sadie has joined HS2 to chair its Design Panel. As a founding director of her own architecture practice she clearly has the drive required to help us deliver HS2 as a world class high speed rail system.

‘Great design will help enable HS2 to deliver the step change in rail travel in Britain, making it a transport mode of choice and draw people to train travel who do not currently consider it.’

Transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin, added: ‘Great design is essential to HS2. This vital railway is a key part of our long-term economic plan. We want HS2 to make the country proud and show the world what great British design can do.’

Morgan’s appointment comes as HS2 revealed its Design Vision – a framework which will guide the design of the scheme.

The document was drawn up as a result of the work begun last July by the group of designers who were brought in to shape the design of the vision for the high speed rail link (AJ 03.06.14)

Led by ex-Design Council chair David Kester, the 32-strong group, which included Garden Bridge designer Thomas Heatherwick, Stirling Prize-winner Alison Brooks and engineer Jane Wernick, was tasked with developing design concepts for all aspects of the £42.6 billion project including future stations, trains, and landscaping.

Focused around three main points – people, place and time - the framework aims ‘to hold [HS2] to account with memorable criteria’.  

According to the Design Vision document ‘every design task is critical’ and the work would need to be ‘transformational’.

Last month, Jane Priestman, who had previously worked at the British Railways Board, said HS2 was a ‘tremendous opportunity’ but it was yet to be proven (AJ 27.02.15).

Key points from HS2’s Design Vision

  1. Design for the needs of a diverse audience
  2. Engage with communities over the life of the project
  3. Inspire through creative talent
  4. Design places and spaces that support quality of life
  5. Celebrate local places within a national narrative
  6. Demonstrate a commitment to nature
  7. Design to adapt for future generations
  8. Place a premium on customer’s personal time
  9. Make the most of design time

Readers' comments (3)

  • Please consider re-locating the HS2 London terminus to Kings Cross St Pancras. Because Euston is an inconvenient station if one intends to keep travelling into Europe. Is it not possible to locate the HS2 platforms underground at Kings X St Pancras as they have managed to do in Antwerp.

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  • A lesson learnt from the criticism of the quality of the architecture of the Crossrail project, in comparison to the fine work done on the Jubilee Line extension, under the direction of the late Roland Paoletti?

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  • chris Dyson

    fantastic and imaginative selection HS2 is a great opportunity for this country to celebrate the diversity of places and their identities, making memorable and long lasting experiences building on the great and globally inspiring railway heritage of this country...if in any doubt always the best quality please...

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