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Network Rail and RIBA Competitions invites proposals that will challenge and re-imagine what a ‘station’ could become in the 21st century as the interface between the community and the railway.

This international design competition is focused on new solutions for small to medium stations across the UK. There are already more than 2,000 of these, ranging from small halts to medium-sized stations.

The competition’s aim is to explore designs for the interface between a 21st century community and the rail system that can be integrated in the wide range of different suburban and rural contexts. It will interrogate the meaning of the term ‘station’ through the design process.

Your solution should explain your underlying philosophy and show how this philosophy can be interpreted to be suitable both for use at any small-medium new build station site and also how it can be used to adapt those sites where there already is an existing smaller station.

We are inviting ideas that explore a response to the changing character of our society as well as addressing the wide variety of existing experiences at UK rail stations. Coronavirus has shaken up our way of life from which, along with the climate and ecological emergency, the recovery process will demand a profound shift in the way we behave in order to provide a secure future for future generations.

Across the UK, the design quality of stations and the amenities they provide vary greatly. By improving the quality of our smaller stations, they will be able to provide for their communities in ways which meet or exceed, albeit at a smaller scale, the best examples of our larger stations in towns and city centres. We expect proposals to look beyond railways for good ideas from other parts of contemporary life to imagine how they can fully realize the unique opportunities a station provides.

The travel experience of rail users is essential to Network Rail. Every day, millions of people travel by rail. Their daily lives and experiences are shaped by these journeys: from the stations people arrive at or depart from and the trains they travel on, to the connecting spaces people pass through, and the mobile apps navigating these connections. Rail enables connections between and the integration of people within society. It supports the economy and livelihoods of local communities across the UK.

Network Rail’s Principles of Good Design published in 2018 help in delivering these national objectives and guiding its ambitions, culture and projects. The principles promote a consistent standard of high-quality design across Network Rail’s assets and operations, focussed on putting passengers first.

The principles are:

  • Identity
  • Passengers
  • Community focused
  • Collaborative
  • Inclusive
  • Connected
  • Contextual
  • Enhancing Heritage
  • Innovative
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