Atkins and Pascall & Watson among finalists in station design ideas contest 

Edinburgh practice 7N Architects has won an international ideas competition to rethink the future of station design in the UK.

It beat a five-strong shortlist consisting of Atkins and Pascall & Watson, both from London, Toronto’s Workshop Architecture and Miguel Angel Carrasco Arquitetura from Rio de Janeiro.

The contest, run by RIBA Competitions and Network Rail, attracted more than 200 entries from designers based in 34 different countries.

They were asked to reimagine how small and medium-sized stations could improve the travel experience for passengers while supporting Network Rail’s aspirations to be carbon neutral by 2050.

7N’s winning entry was praised by the jury for doing this with a pared-back, open and flexible system with minimum component parts. The modular design can be integrated into a variety of locations that complement the local landscape.

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Source: 7N Architects

The station frontage includes a clock tower to create a civic landmark and a natural meeting place for social activities, while platform canopies – which the judges described as “elegant and refined“ – offer shelter for passengers.

The design also incorporates the capacity to generate renewable energy to provide most of the stations’ power by using translucent photo-voltaic panels which provide shelter from rain and dappled shade.

It was praised by rail minister Chris Heaton-Harris who said: “7N Architects’ innovative concept puts passengers right at the heart of its design, from the sweeping canopies providing shelter from the elements and generating power, to the station’s frontage serving as a local landmark.

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Source: 7N Architects

“Harnessing creative and forward-thinking ideas in competitions like this will be a game-changer when it comes to designing stations of the future that deliver a first class experience for all passengers. I look forward to seeing this become a reality.”

Lucy Musgrave, founding director of Publica and member of the judging panel, said: “7N’s winning proposal showed a confident expression and understanding of the opportunity to celebrate our local identities, the specificity and integration with our urban and rural landscapes, and the strength of our national identity through our railway infrastructure.”

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Source: 7N Architects

RIBA President Alan Jones said it was a highly innovative, compelling and forward-thinking solution that would have a hugely positive impact on future station design

7N Architects, which is currently hiring, will now work with Network Rail to develop its design into a formal proposal that addresses a prescribed set of technical requirements, including consideration of construction methodology.