javier callejas photographs birmingham new street railway station by AZPML
all images by javier callejas




new photographs by javier callejas take a closer look at birmingham new street, a vast railway station redevelopment located at the heart of the UK’s second biggest city. designed by AZPML, a london-based practice led by alejandro zaera-polo and maider llaguno, the £750 million project serves as both an important transport hub and a key aspect of the city’s evolving public realm. as one of the country’s busiest stations, the building often provides the first impression of birmingham to national and international visitors.

internally, the design is articulated around a light-filled atrium




the intention of the design team was to create an architecture able to communicate the function of the building, and the character of its location, to the broader public. internally, the scheme is articulated around a large light-filled atrium, while the existing structure — built in the 1960s — has been re-clad with an undulating and reflective steel façade. ‘the geometries of motion and the distortion of perception produced by movement have been the inspiration for the architectural expression of the project,’ explains AZPML. ‘the design aims to trigger a new perception of the urban settings around the station, by specifically reflecting selected areas of the urban landscape.’

the design seeks to create an architecture able to communicate the function of the building




beyond the new atrium, perimeter cladding, and reorganization of concourse and platform access, the station’s transformation also includes a major new building housing retail program. known as ‘grand central’, the shopping center comprises a large john lewis department store, which emerges from the lower level band of stainless steel on the complex’s south side. to highlight the four main access points, large ‘eye-shaped’ media screens have been integrated in the building’s façade.

escalators from the concourse lead to various retail outlets




the scheme, which started life as a winning competition entry in 2008, was completed in september 2015. as the project developed, tensions grew between the design team and the client, network rail, who AZPML felt compromised the integrity of the station through changes in specified material choices.

the building’s exterior has been clad with an undulating steel façade




birmingham new street sits right at the heart of our rail network and the transformation which has taken place here is nothing short of stunning,’ said mark carne, chief executive of network rail. ‘the station is now bigger, brighter and better able to meet the needs of the growing number of people who use it each day.


‘rebuilding one of the busiest stations in the country without impacting on passengers’ journeys has been a major challenge, but I’m extremely proud to say that network rail and our partners on this project have done just that. that’s a significant achievement for everyone who has helped build this fantastic new station of which they, and all of birmingham, can be very proud indeed.


see designboom’s previous coverage of the redevelopment here.

an aerial view of the vast redevelopment

the project sits at the center of the UK’s second largest city

the stainless steel cladding viewed from street level

the reflective surface covers the existing structure — originally built in the 1960s

large ‘eye-shaped’ media screens have been integrated within the building’s façade

a walkway connects new street with the adjacent bullring mall

the scheme was completed in 2015, after six years of construction

the project’s cost totaled £750 million

the station often provides the first impression of the city to national and international visitors

the roof of the atrium, looking towards birmingham’s ‘rotunda’ building



project info:


start on site: 2009
completion: september 2015
gross internal floor area: lower mezzanine – 3,000 sqm; platforms – 8,000 sqm; concourse – 20,000 sqm; upper mezzanine – 4,500 sqm; grand central – 17,000 sqm; JLP – 24,000 sqm; upper retail – 15,000 sqm; total – 91,500 sqm

form of contract or procurement route: design and build – construction management


construction cost: £750 million          
concept architect: AZPML
executive architect: atkins
interior architect: haskoll architects
client: network rail, birmingham city council, department for transport, centro
structural engineer: AKT II, atkins
m&e consultant: hoare lea (MEP), atkins
QS: faithful & gould
subcontractors and suppliers: NG bailey, coleman & company, elliott thomas, martifer UK, fireclad, MPB, SAS, vector foiltech, glazzard
project manager (main contractor): mace


AZPML/FOA team credits:


AZPML/FOA partner-in-charge: alejandro zaera-polo with: manuel eijo, guillermo fernandez-abascal, charles valla, christof trenner, tommaso franzolini, lola fernandez, sukyeong kim, carmen sagredo, takeru sato, penny sperbund, niklavs paegle, tobias jewson, mio sato, manuel távora