John McAslan + Partners and Woods Bagot are the architectural partners delivering the Sydney Metro upgrade to Central Station, a key component of Australia’s largest public transport project. The multi-disciplinary, international design team have revealed a design that will preserve heritage qualities of the 112-year-old station while adding contemporary and innovative touches to create wider civic and commercial renewal within the space.
The upgrade to Central Station is a major part of the Sydney Metro City & Southwest project, a $20 billion project which will deliver faster and more efficient public transport for customers across the network. The renewal of Central Station, the backbone of Sydney’s public transport network and Australia’s largest railway station, aims to better connect customers to trains, buses, light rail and the new Sydney Metro. With more than 250,000 people passing through the station each day and numbers estimated to rise to 450,000 in the next twenty years, the project is hugely significant for the future of Sydney’s transport system.
John McAslan, Executive Chairman of John McAslan + Partners describes the importance of the project: The world’s leading cities, Sydney among them, are under extraordinary pressure in terms of the development of transport infrastructure in relation to the urban fabric. With 96% of Sydney train services currently calling at Central Station, this interchange performs a critical function and impression of the city.
The design by John McAslan + Partners and Woods Bagot establishes a clear relationship with Walter Vernon’s original architecture by reflecting existing hierarchies, arches, and openings. Through sculptural and sweeping form, the new design adds an atmosphere of contemporary efficiency to the existing history of the original station. While delivery of the core scope of works has been a priority, the design also creates a series of “urban rooms” – civic scale spaces such as new triple height spaces as part of a broader urban and civic approach.
Neil Hill, Design leader for Woods Bagot describes the concept design: The craft and richness of stonework evident in the existing building are reinterpreted to form new textured sandstone walls into the new Metro Box, establishing the exceptionally crafted subterranean architecture firmly within the historic precinct and providing a civic quality to the new station works.
Woods Bagot Principal, John Prentice, imagines that Central Station’s new underground concourse will “eliminate the ‘travel trudge’. Our design approach has been to walk in the shoes of the customer every step of the way to create a truly great experience. "Finding your way around intuitively in uncluttered and beautifully finished spaces has been a major design focus. Customers will freely and effortlessly move through the space, know where they are at any time, and change easily between trains, buses, light rail and the new Sydney Metro.”
Woods Bagot design team: Neil Hill, Domenic Alvaro, John Prentice, Martin Fox, Larisa Mos, Dinko Arar, Kaustav Gupta, Glenda Yiu, John Morris, Rob Wright, Stephen Taskin, Zig Peshos
John McAslan + Partners design team: John McAslan, Fanos Panayides, Colin Bennie, Katherine Watts, Andy Harris, Eddie Behrens, Rhys Roberts, Stephen McGrane, Elliot Hill, Line Spengler, Nik Van-Herpt