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Thinking beyond the station: Oversite Development \

A new series exploring key trends in infrastructure that will impact how you live, work and play

Stations are, in a word, complicated: behind the publicly accessible areas lie a vast megastructure of complex machinery, vents and tunnels to enable millions of passengers to travel from one place to another. Of course, these machines of mass movement don’t exist in a vacuum – they are an integral part of the wider urban context. Stations provide a gateway into city centres, high streets and local neighbourhoods. They have a significant influence over our experience of the city.

While large cities such as London grapple with rapid urban densification, the modern station needs to do more than usher people from A to B, then spit them out onto a crammed footpath. So what are the needs that future stations should address? Will they begin to fulfil new functions in a post-pandemic world as we consider the role that infrastructure nodes play? And importantly, how will stations of the future be delivered without grinding an entire city to a halt?

In the series ‘Thinking beyond the station’, we will be looking at six emerging transport infrastructure trends that will impact how stations continue to shape the city as we start to unravel what the ‘new normal’ might look like and accommodate the changing ways we live.

“...the modern station needs to do more than usher people from A to B, then spit them out onto a crammed footpath. But what are the needs that future stations need to address?”

Oversite development: creating homes in tricky places

In the UK, the urgency and severity of the housing crisis is indisputable. Responding to changing funding streams and making the most out of valuable land has been critical in providing much-needed homes, particularly in crowded cities.

Developing above and around transport infrastructure is complex, but is possible. The interfaces and technical constraints are demanding, and the development must not compromise the operation of the railway during its construction nor during normal use.

Our involvement with Tottenham Court Road (TCR) station – also known as the ‘gateway’ to London’s West End – spans over 20 years. We successfully delivered an upgrade to the London Underground station in 2016, and we're now working on the new Crossrail station; we're also delivering an oversite development above the western ticket hall of TCR Crossrail station which will deliver 92 new homes in central London.

In order to make the design a reality, we were faced with a number of considerations: detailed interface conditions; station and development servicing; access; maintenance and replacement strategies; acoustic and vibration separation requirements; sun access; maximising the value of the site. Interlocking programmes for the OSD and station works will enable the station to keep running throughout.

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New homes to be delivered above Tottenham Court Road station

A deep-dive into technical details

To make sure future residents aren't affected by train movements below ground, we had to tackle the challenge of achieving acoustic and vibration separation between the station and the development. Isolation pads were specified at a frequency established using digital 3D Finite Element Modelling, responding to vibration from the low-level train movements and associated vent shafts. These pads isolated the load bearing structures and façade elements, and flexible joints were used to isolate services within, fully isolating these much-needed homes from the station on which they sit.

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“To make sure future residents aren't affected by train movements below ground, we had to tackle the challenge of achieving acoustic and vibration separation between the station and the development.”

We coordinated these highly technical design elements using BIM, digital scripting and early stage collaboration with the pre-fabrication supply chain. In other words, we collaborated with a team of specialists to navigate a plethora of technical challenges to bring this ground-breaking development to one of London’s most vibrant neighbourhoods. And it’s all set above a new piece of transport infrastructure, and will be delivered without grinding central London to a halt.

We’re always open to talking about new collaborations, so please get in touch with Harbinder Birdi or Marko Neskovic if you want to discuss how we can assist to deliver your next project.

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