In a combined effort between Network Rail, railway operator MTR and property specialist Sellar, Liverpool Street station is set to undergo a major revamp soon. For us, what’s exciting is that legendary architects Herzog and De Meuron have designed the project, with a proposed £1.5 billion committed to making it a reality.
Of course, the enterprise will do as much for the local area as for the station itself. While the vital upgrades include improving the capacity, accessibility and any overcrowding issues at the UK’s busiest rail station, there’s also to be a roof garden, a cafe and even a public pool that can be used all year round. In addition to that, Liverpool Street itself is to be pedestrianised, lending it a more relaxed, cosmopolitan atmosphere.
The development will also feature a hotel and offices, which, in an innovative new move, will supply surplus heat to keep the swimming pool at the perfect temperature during the winter months. Fortunately, what’s also crucial to everyone involved is the preservation of the station’s oldest features, with, just for instance, the remarkable Victorian train sheds to be restored and made more visible to the average commuter. By listening to established heritage organisations, the overall thinking is that the station is on course to look pretty spectacular.
The Liverpool Street area has always been hugely popular with both Londoners and tourists alike. Unusually for the capital, it’s often extremely busy at weekends as well, with shoppers and diners making their way to nearby Petticoat Lane and Brick Lane and Spitalfield markets. Then there’s the legendary nightlife in Shoreditch, whose bars, restaurants and clubs remain, as ever, unfailingly fashionable.
It’s important to remember that successful regeneration projects don’t just build new homes and businesses, they invest in the communities around them too. Nearby Canary Wharf is a prime example of a genuine London success story, having gone from being primarily a financial hub to becoming a thriving cultural destination. That sense of community is reflected in modern living environments like One Park Drive, the area’s signature building, also designed by Herzog and De Meuron.
It’s clear that expectations for the new Liverpool Street station are, to say the least, running pretty high. Already one of the city’s most beloved districts, there’s a lot the project has to get right to keep everyone happy, whilst ensuring millions of travellers get where they need to go. However, the pedigree of those involved and their previous successes certainly give the impression that, when it happens, it’s going to be a real boost for both the local area and the city as a whole.