Why is it that images of transport infrastructure don’t come to mind when we think about great design? As our most frequented, but least inhabited public space, the station concourse is the first and last experience we have of an urban area – a traditional atrium but at the scale of a city. This studio will peel back the layers that define the various boundaries of the concourse and examine this space as a civic building and an exemplar of precisely engineered circulation.
We will begin our studio by stopping on the way to our destination, and missing the next train. The concourse has only moments to span the divide between two, often contrasting environments, the strictly controlled infrastructure and the unique character of the local area it impacts. We will observe directions, types and speeds of movement to unpack conventions of spatial planning. Physical, financial and technological boundaries will be traced to better understand operational priorities.
Transport infrastructure is one of the few building types where not only does the existing context matter, but also growth over time. The success of these buildings is defined by their ability to inform and respond to that growth. Train stations are the most public of public buildings, and our design decisions need to be as valid in one hundred years as they are now.
The challenge of this studio is to take the rigid, performance driven space of the station concourse and point it towards a greater civic ambition of public amenity. We want to explore what infrastructure can offer its station sites that goes beyond the basic promise of regional connectivity. In essence, we want to take a space designed for unrelenting movement, and ask what it means to be still.