London Bridge is a railway terminus and underground station in south-east London and handles over 50 million passengers a year. It occupies a large area on three levels near London Bridge, from which it takes its name. The main line station is one of the oldest in the world having opened in 1836.
When we were first appointed in 2014 by main contractor, Costain, to fulfil the wayfinding requirements during its complete redevelopment, we were acutely aware of the responsibility and long-term commitment. However, we were confident in our abilities to deliver the complex solutions in a timely and cost-effective way throughout the various phases of the programme. Design intent and wayfinding planning was completed by Maynard Design and Grimshaws and we worked collaboratively with both alongside Costain to progress the project on site.
Our brief was to provide a large-scale signage package, which included hundreds of custom-made signs, all designed to meet Network Rail standards. Requirements ranged from significant architectural structures, like the directional signs suspended from the terminal roof to more traditional signage such as the station’s door signage including 3,000 plaques. Suspended digital screens were spaced out on each platform with no two being the same. Each required its own bespoke design due to the wave canopy from which they were all hung. The specified materials guaranteed quality products, durable enough to last well into the future.
The project pulled on our full capability and a dedicated multi-functional team with permanent representation on-site for the latter three years of the contract was essential. Our design, engineering and drawing departments specified the multiple connection issues; manufacturers pulled on our coating, printing, fabrication and assembly skills and installation took the best of our contract management personnel to deliver. The project management team with their wealth of experience in the rail industry stepped up to the mark throughout the project. Calling on their knowledge, they were responsible for taking all complications into account and writing detailed work plans and briefings, then communicating this effectively to their installation crews.
The typical complexities of installing in a rail environment were ever present, such as night shifts, working at height and working next to the platform edge. However, these were managed effectively by our experienced team. As always with projects of this scale, it involved multiple interfaces with other trades amid a busy operational station. Much of the work was ‘rail side’ and was therefore carried out during track possessions (out of hours at nights) to mitigate safety risks.
After five years of working in a live station environment, the result was stunning, and the overall project won the Royal Institute of British Architects award for London Building of The Year in 2019. This was praise indeed for everyone involved after efforts concluded that same year.
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