Leeds Station Renovations Unveiled at Launch Event
After months of renovation work to the roof and southern concourse, Leeds Station has been unveiled, showcasing its glimmering gold concourse, light-flooding vision and human circadian rhythmic lighting, something that is a first for railways, the station creates a welcome to Yorkshire fit for the UK’s third busiest railway station outside of London.
SYSTRA worked with Network Rail to deliver architectural design and project management of this ambitious renovation programme for the southern concourse in less than one year. The work involved the reinvention of the late 1960’s wooden roof and updates to the station entrance, Southern concourse retail space, ticket gateline and public WC facilities. New lighting and a gold entrance façade adds to the passenger experience, and all completed whilst the station remained open to the public 24/7.
The architecture and engineering team at SYSTRA worked collaboratively, boldly driving an ambitious programme and ensuring that the station renovations went beyond expectations. The project delivered additional design elements to create a wow factor for the 30 million passengers travelling through Leeds every year, delivering an aesthetically pleasing finish and a more secure, future proof station.
To maximise first impressions a gold metal façade was chosen, a transparent roof was created to allow natural daylight to flood the concourse and human circadian rhythmic lighting was incorporated into the design to mimic natural daylight. Natural lines were created inside the concourse to encourage the ‘flow of traffic’ through the space, subliminally encouraging passengers to move in the direction of the gateline.
« The opportunity to transform Leeds Station was exciting and challenging for SYSTRA and our staff displayed passion and dedication to complete on time and to the highest standard. We are delighted to have the opportunity to deliver cutting edge improvements and a station lighting scheme that is unique in the UK. »
Out with the old, in with the see through
With a brief from Network Rail to remove the dark and dated wooden panelling from its roof and ‘bring in more light’ to the concourse, the project team knew they had their work cut out to transform the space within a 24hr functioning station in just 11 months. To add to the complexity, the brief outlined the requirement for removal of asbestos, electrical cabling and oil-based paint finishes.
The designers team developed a solution using Ethylene Tetrafluoroethylene (ETFE) to allow natural daylight to flood through the roof whilst remaining strong, durable and long lasting. This translucent fluoride-based polymer sheeting offers notable high strength properties over a wide temperature range and high resistance to corrosion. The additional bonus of this material is that it’s light weight and quick to install, making it an ideal solution for the short timescale. The final result sees an impressive pillow design over two tiered levels, providing optimum amounts of light streaming through into the concourse.
Let there be light
In addition to the transparent roof, the team knew that on a dull overcast day, natural light would not deliver the full effect of the teams vision. To overcome this, the design incorporated a first for the railways by using a new lighting system, Human Circadian Rhythm Lighting (HCRL). Previously only used in the UK in a handful of care establishments, such as hospitals, HCRL mimics the light patterns of natural daylight with a cooler white light in the mornings and warmer yellow light in the evenings.
The technology behind the new lighting identifies with the human body’s need for rhythmic light patterns akin to the changing daily natural light cycles. In doing so, HCRL allows passengers to experience the same effect inside the station as that of the natural light patterns, resulting in the body clock remaining in sync and encouraging positive moods.
As good as gold
With the new entrance providing the main gateway to and from the city, the plans have involved the removal of the old, blue, square fronted canopy, making way for a new ‘pinched’ entrance canopy carrying a modern gold welcome into the city using anodised aluminium. Chosen for its light-weight and robust properties, the new gold façade provides a more upmarket first impression, tying in with the Southern entrance. The new entrance also includes new full height glazing, further enhancing the connections to New Station Street and the wider city centre.
Furthermore, old information boards and information points have been removed with new CIS, advertisement screens and a Customer Information Point installed to support a more intuitive passenger experience. The previous gateline caused passenger congestion, but the newly unveiled Automatic Ticket Gateline (ATG) arrangements are set to relieve congestion on both the concourse and platforms.
To complete the renovations, a new seated waiting area has been created at the southern concourse in between the entrance and the new Customer Information Point. This location has been carefully planned by the design team to create an obstruction-free flow of passenger traffic whilst allowing those waiting for their train times or loved ones to sit in a clutter free environment.
Other consultants working on the project for SYSTRA were M10 Fire, Fourways Telecoms, Kerbian, CCD, Buro Happold.