Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Designed by Woods Bagot in collaboration with John McAslan + Partners, the renovation of the Sydney Central Station marks a pivotal milestone within the larger transformation of Sydney’s public transport infrastructure, the country’s biggest infrastructure project.
By 2024, Sydney will have 31 metro stations and more than 66 kilometers of new metro rail, delivering a world-class transport solution for a global city.
Servicing 96 percent of Sydney’s train services, Central Station forms the backbone of the entire rail network.
The upgrade will accommodate 40,000 metro passengers every hour – a 60 percent increase in current capacity.
The renovation project has been awarded a 2021 International Architecture Award by The Chicago Athenaeum: Museum of Architecture and Design and The European Centre for Architecture Art Design and Urban Studies.
The transformation of Central Station to accommodate a state of the art metro interchange requires the design of spatially and structurally efficient operational segments, and sophisticated, multilevel passenger flow strategies.
But it must also be designed with the future in mind so that the station serves additional placemaking and regeneration outcomes.
The project includes a dramatic new main entrance sequence for the imposing early 20th-century edifice and incorporates as its centerpiece a distinctive 50m-span vaulted roof.
The bold architecture of the original structure dovetails with equally bold, can do, 21st-century interventions giving the station an entirely new functional and experiential vibe so that up to 450,000 passengers a day can flow through its spaces and feel, quite palpably, an inspiring, highly efficient, and re-energized coming together of old and new.
The Clock Tower, the original canopied concourse, and the general architectural gravitas remain iconic; the new interventions, while contemporary in architectural style, elevate the station’s unique historic status.
The insertion of the metro deep into the heart of Sydney’s Central Station inspires a crafted subterranean architecture that seeks to capture the essence of the station, Sydney, and the unique qualities of the Hawkesbury River sandstone used extensively in this historic precinct.
The scale of the intervention is as large as the original building, except it is predominately submerged underground.
All key thresholds introduce elements of natural light, and this helps orientation and intuitive wayfinding around the station.
The design vision and approach place the customer experience at the center of the transformation.
The creation of more open spaces such as the new Northern Concourse at key decision-making points significantly improves circulation and station legibility, with enhanced accessibility, permeability, and connectivity across the station precinct, resulting in an intuitive and easily used station environment for all customers, irrespective of the mode of travel used.
The new metro and concourse insertions are designed to be purposeful, functional, sculpturally rich, and synthesized with the historic qualities of the original station.
This materiality establishes the proposals into their local context and provides a civic quality to the new station works.
As well as making commuting a more efficient and pleasant, customer-focused experience, the station upgrade is already generating opportunities for wider civic and commercial renewal.
Project: Sydney Central Station
Architects: Woods Bagot Pty Ltd.
Associate Architects: John McAslan + Partners
Client: Laing O’Rourke on behalf of Sydney Metro
General Contractor: Laing O’Rourke