East Croydon Bridge

London, UK
Croydon Council, Network Rail

Our design for East Croydon Bridge is beautiful yet utilitarian in its finishes. With servicing, information display and retail contained within the central spine, the Bridge is a clear emblematic structure that unites the white silhouettes of No.1 Croydon and East Croydon main station.

East Croydon station is one of the busiest interchange stations in the UK. We prepared a masterplan that knits together two major developments in the pipeline - one on either side of the station. To begin, we needed to understand the different requirements of the two buildings and marry these with the technical constraints of a transport interchange. It was also an opportunity to make the station into the central hub it needs to become to unite the surrounding public realm.

The project explored the feasibility of building a station concourse on a raft over the railway lines, allowing for extra track capacity and the introduction of two more platforms. Outside the station we designed a seamless, well-integrated interchange with trams, buses, taxis and bikes. Better arrangements for pedestrians, such as a new station bridge to open up an east–west connection across the tracks, have increased the capacity of the station, relieving congestion whilst linking the three portions of the site together and re-orientating the urban fabric.

Construction of the footbridge was approved in February 2011 and involved linking all six platforms of the station and creating new entrances and exits at Cherry Orchard Road, Ruskin Square and Dingwall Road. It was designed in collaboration with engineering firm Mott Macdonald and assembled by the contractor BAM Nuttall. The ‘Vierendeel’ truss structure minimised costly disruption to the station to just two weekends, where the 100 metre long, 700-tonne structure was push-launched over a 20-hour period across the six live platforms.

This project taught us the value of agreeing project principles and strategy early in the design process, particularly when there are numerous complex public and private sector stakeholders. We learnt about the expense involved making interventions over live tracks and the benefits of separate pre-fabricated components that facilitate rapid on-site construction.