A second platform and a new footbridge at the Stratford DLR station, North East of central London, designed by architects SMC Alsop, opened to passengers this weekend. While the first platform opened in June 2007, the opening of this platform marks the completion of the whole project. The striking new landmark terminus caters for significantly increased capacity, and planned 3 car train operations on the DLR.
Making space for the 2012 Olympics and future Crossrail, the new station is the first piece in the jigsaw of a wider Stratford masterplan.
With its sculpted steel canopy supported on cantilevered columns, considered use of lighting and bold colour, the new station provides a distinctive, efficient and attractive replacement for its highly congested and restricted forerunner on the same site. The design team’s achievement however lies not just in the creation of a new transport landmark but also in resolving the considerable complexity of the site and rail operations. As Jonathan Fox director of DLR says “We are delighted to have opened our Stratford platform, which is truly eye-catching and offers the space and facilities needed for our ever growing number of passengers. The project demonstrates that it is possible to deliver complex rail projects to time and budget when effective partnerships are in place.”
As the existing four-metre wide single-terminating DLR station platform at Stratford was incapable of expanding physically to meet continuing passenger growth, the design team was briefed to develop a completely new station with a corresponding new track alignment, that would meet DLR’s requirements for additional passenger capacity, improved train frequencies as well as longer platforms for future three car train operations.
The constraints of the site led to the design of a new Station and railway viaduct that is a hybrid combination of two 3m wide x 84m long straight, non-parallel, side platforms and a tapered island platform, which plugs into the western side of the existing elegant Stratford Regional/ JLE Station Mezzanine. The relative shift from east to west, and divergence of the two new platforms, enables a tighter and slimmer platform footprint, to fit the critical site bottleneck.
The island platform and the associated tracks and necessary overruns, are supported on an in-situ concrete viaduct, bridging over the Network Rail depot. It is supported longitudinally on circular concrete columns, with a variable width due to the tapering geometry. The concrete viaduct supports precast concrete platforms and a continuous, lightweight steel canopy structure.
The distinctive canopy consists of a snaking triangulated lightweight steel-framed roof structure supported longitudinally on orange/yellow inclined oval steel columns. Although the underside of the structure is lined continuously with woven stainless steel mesh, the triangulated, black-painted, steel structure remains semi-visible. Every other triangular coffer, behind the stainless steel mesh, is backlit, creating an alternating pattern of ‘light’ and ‘dark’ facets. Inserted into the canopy: intermittent, cutout, triangular rooflights/ windows allow daylight penetration and views out.
Reflecting the canopy above, the platforms are finished with alternating bands of light and dark terrazzo. In the centre of the platforms are translucent, coloured, folded glass screens providing weather protection, and incorporating passenger seating, information boards/ posters and signage.
The design team successfully resolved one of the most challenging aspects of the project – integrating the new station into a complex existing and future network of transport operators on the site – by exploiting existing connections and developing new footbridges and enclosed links.
Entry to the new DLR station, from the street, is via the existing Stratford Regional Station main entrance, and the lifts, escalators and stairs linking the existing Mezzanine and Concourse. Beyond the western end of the new platforms, the triangulated steel platform canopy gradually folds to form an enclosed bridge that links to a shallow ramp leading down to the existing external balcony of the Stratford Regional Station Mezzanine. The seamless transition is achieved by means of 23m long steel trusses incorporated into the sidewalls of the bridge.
An enclosed 2m wide stair at the western end of the platforms provides an alternative Means of Escape, leading passengers directly down and out onto Gibbins Road. A high level link into the Stratford Regional Station Mezzanine facilitates all potential passenger interchanges with other rail operators - via existing stairs, escalators and MIP lifts, either side of the North London Line. A secondary covered footbridge link to Platforms 3/5 facilitates the primary interchange link between DLR and westbound LUL Central Line and Great Eastern.
Architect & Lead Consultant: SMC Alsop (Project Director: Shaun Russell, Project Architect: Paul Shakespeare)
Engineering Concept Design: Atkins
Services Engineering Concept Design: Mott MacDonald
Design & Build Contractor: Hochtief
Engineering Detail Design: Tony Gee & Partners
Services Sub contractor: Emcor
Big Thanks to Cecilia Karlsson from Stratton & Reekie for supplying the material for this publications.
About the project's locations:
We extracted this small text about Stratford and the impact of the 2012 Olympics on its future development.
Courtesy of Lodonnet: "On the outskirts of a developing London, Stratford has always been somewhat overlooked, in terms of cultural and tourist hot-spots. During the Industrial Revolution, it was the centre of some of the cities more unwanted industries, including chemical plants, soap-creation and ink-making, and later became the centre for carriage and train making. Later, after the Second World War, Stratford faced much devestation and the closure of the Royal Docks, and since then struggled to develop while preserve its history.
Plans for the 2012 Olympics has become a wind in the sail of Stratford development, offering huge numbers of jobs, community programs and sparkling new facilities.
The bid states that Stratford will hold the Olympic Park and Olympic Village, including the Olympic Stadium, Aquatics Centre, Hockey Centre, Velodome and a BMX track.
Accessible on the proposed Olympic Javelin Underground line - a seven-minute ride from central London - the plot includes plans that will incorporate millions in traffic and remain useful for the London community in the future, especially for Stratford."
Once the games are finished, the Olympic Village alone will transform easily into 3,600 homes, with the rest of the village useful for educational and sporting purposes.