in progress: AZPML-designed birmingham new street station
in progress: AZPML-designed birmingham new street station
oct 30, 2014

in progress: AZPML-designed birmingham new street station

with construction well underway, addition and renovation work on the birmingham ‘new street station’ has taken full form, with the ETFE roof finalized as of september 2014. the design is based on the competition winning proposal by foreign office architects (FOA) in 2008, and has stayed with architect alejandro zaera-polo and his more recent office AZPML following FOA’s dissolve.


seeking to serve as an architectural icon for the prominent transport hub, the scheme is distinguished by two main components: a sweeping stainless steel cladding surface that wraps the existing building, and a new atrium covered by a translucent bubble-like structure. the station’s transformation is commissioned by network rail, and expected to be fully completed in september 2015.

azpml birmingham new street station designboom

the ETFE roof structure covering the station’s new atrium was finalized as of september 2014
all images © network rail and AZPML




in regards to the project’s new stainless steel skin, which wraps the perimeter of the building, undulating and branching forms were conceived to express the dynamic geometries of the train station’s tracks. in addition, the material’s mirrored quality is intended to visually connect the bold and inherently contrasting urban element to its surrounding context. the architects state, ‘as the cladding cannot be related to the interior of the building for practical reasons, the design of the façade has been related to the exterior space, making the building an instrument to intensify the perception of urban life in birmingham’s inner city, as opposed to try to reveal its inner structure.’

azpml birmingham new street station designboom

a john lewis department store emerges from the band of stainless steel cladding




beyond the new atrium, perimeter cladding, and reorganization of concourse and platform access, the station’s transformation includes a major building addition to house retail program. known as ‘grand central’, the shopping center is predominantly comprised of a large john lewis department store, which emerges from the lower level band of stainless steel on the complex’s south side.

azpml birmingham new street station designboom

the sweeping mirrored surfaces peel apart to create ‘eye-shaped’ forms above main entries

azpml birmingham new street station designboom

glass cladding provides a moment of transparency between the interior and street level

azpml birmingham new street station designboom

the undulating skin reflects the traffic passing by, surrounding buildings, and sky above

azpml birmingham new street station designboom

the cladding pinches upward to reveal the existing brick structure

azpml birmingham new street station designboom

installation of the stainless steel sheets

azpml birmingham new street station designboom

the east façade, prior to application of the metal skin

azpml birmingham new street station designboom

a view of the in-progress atrium beneath the bubble-shaped roof





project team:


client: network rail ltd.

concept architect: AZPML
façade structure engineer: AKTII

M&E engineer: hoare lea

construction management: mace
executive architect: atkins
structural engineer: atkins

M&E engineer: atkins
QS: faithful & gould

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

  • A death trap for anything flying!

    billdelaluz says:

have something to add? share your thoughts in our comments section below.
all comments are reviewed for the purposes of moderation before publishing.

comments policy
designboom's comment policy guidelines
generally speaking, if we publish something, it's because we're genuinely interested in the subject. we hope you'll share this interest and if you know even more about it, please share! our goal in the discussion threads is to have good conversation and we prefer constructive opinions. we and our readers have fun with entertaining ones. designboom welcomes alerts about typos, incorrect names, and the like.
the correction is at the discretion of the post editor and may not happen immediately.

what if you disagree with what we or another commenter has to say?
let's hear it! but please understand that offensive, inappropriate, or just plain annoying comments may be deleted or shortened.

- please do not make racist, sexist, anti-semitic, homophobic or otherwise offensive comments.
- please don't personally insult the writers or your fellow commenters.
- please avoid using offensive words, replacing a few letters with asterisks is not a valid workaround.
- please don't include your website or e-mail address in your comments for the purpose of self-promotion.
- please respect jury verdicts and do not discuss offensively on the competition results
(there is only one fist prize, and designboom usually asks renown professionals to help us to promote talent.
in addition to the awarded designs, we do feel that almost all deserve our attention, that is why we publish
the best 100-200 entries too.)

a link is allowed in comments as long as they add value in the form of information, images, humor, etc. (links to the front page of your personal blog or website are not okay). unwelcome links (to commercial products or services of others, offensive material etc. ) will be redacted. and, ... yes, spam gets banned. no, we do not post fake comments.


a diverse digital database that acts as a valuable guide in gaining insight and information about a product directly from the manufacturer, and serves as a rich reference point in developing a project or scheme.

architecture news

keep up with our daily and weekly stories
504,311 subscribers
- see sample
- see sample
designboom magazine