Should the Euston Arch be rebuilt?

Discussion in 'London and the South East' started by _pH_, May 18, 2009.

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Should the Euston Arch be rebuilt

  1. Back to the past! I like Grecian arches!

    59.2%
  2. Back to the future! In a space age styleee!

    14.1%
  3. Couldn't give a toss as long as the trains run on time

    22.5%
  4. comedy option/i <3 kittehs!

    4.2%
  1. Brainaddict

    Brainaddict chief propagandist (provisional)

    Looking at those photos I think I agree that the 'arch' isn't really up to much. The proportions are a bit wrong - it just lacks elegance. And I agree it wouldn't necessarily fit into the area any more.

    However, the real shame of it is that we are likely to get a choice between reinstating the arch or building another sodding glass box there. Given that choice I'd probably go for the arch.

    I mean, let's think about station refurbs in London. Cannon Street - hideous. Kings Cross - disastrous. Charing Cross - bland. St Pancras - successful but almost entirely reliant on the Victorian building. So where's the evidence that anyone, either designing or commissioning, has the faintest idea how to build a good station that would stand the test of time?

    It's enough to make you long for a stone arch again, even if it is a fuck ugly arch :p
     
  2. teuchter

    teuchter je suis teuchter

    Jubilee line extension?
     
  3. Crispy

    Crispy The following psytrance is baṉned: All

    JLE is awesome :cool:

    I think Kings X will be much better once they build the new ticket hall and demolish that 70s monstrosity.

    I like the new building that's going on top of Canon Street

    [​IMG]

    That whole block with the X on the end is cantilevered over the entrance. Ballsy engineering, I like :)
     
  4. Brainaddict

    Brainaddict chief propagandist (provisional)

    Fair point in a way. But I put it to you that while they managed to create some quite good internal (underground) spaces, they didn't actually build any impressive above-ground buildings. I mean, they're passable, but nothing special. Southwark is probably the best of the lot, unless there's a good one I haven't seen (I rarely venture far east).
     
  5. teuchter

    teuchter je suis teuchter

    Yeah, I can't really argue with you there; the best bits of the JLE are underground.

    An underground station is of course a different animal to a major main line terminus.

    What they do have in common is a very complex set of engineering and organisational requirements, and in the hands of a mediocre architect, transport architecture can so easily end up as bland veneer applied to functional sheds. Rather than a beautifully crafted expression of those functional requirements like what you see in the best Victorian stations such as Paddington or York.

    I think that the Jubilee line projects demonstrated that if you've got the right people at the helm, high quality architecture doesn't have to be incompatible with all the other things you need to get right to make transport architecture work.

    I'm tempted to put the Eurostar extension to Waterloo forward as an example of an ambitious piece of relatively modern rail architecture, on a large scale. It has of course been beset with various technical problems. We can argue whether they are the result of bad architecture or bad engineering.
     
  6. teuchter

    teuchter je suis teuchter

    Actually thinking about it, I'm not a massive fan of it, but JLE-wise, Stratford station is not bad at all. It deals with quite a complicated intersection of several different lines in a clear and relatively elegant manner.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  7. Crispy

    Crispy The following psytrance is baṉned: All

    Ah yes, stratford is good :)

    But annoying that the International station is 500m away. One whole stop on the (soon to be) DLR. Very integrated :mad:
    Oh, and the new platforms for the NLL are being built in such a way as to prevent further extension of those lines Eastward!
     
  8. _pH_

    _pH_ .

    Add Fenchurch Street to that list. Lovely on the outside. Inside......hmmmmmm......like a pisspoor copy of New Street :hmm:

    Outside:

    [​IMG]

    :)

    Inside:

    [​IMG]

    :hmm:
     
  9. teuchter

    teuchter je suis teuchter

    The Liverpool St refurbishment was OK, aside from plunging half the platforms into darkness.
     
  10. Prince Rhyus

    Prince Rhyus Spokesman of King Antonio

  11. Prince Rhyus

    Prince Rhyus Spokesman of King Antonio

  12. Crispy

    Crispy The following psytrance is baṉned: All

    They're still in the very early stages of planning for this, I wouldn't pay attention to those renders.
     
  13. lang rabbie

    lang rabbie Je ne regrette les gazebos

    It is also cantilevered over the remains of the Roman Governor's palace which apparently survive beneath the platforms of the station and couldn't have piles driven through them.
     
  14. Crispy

    Crispy The following psytrance is baṉned: All

    Interesting! Also, the building next door - black one with silver diamond framing - is supported on just 4 columns - the diamond lattice holds the floors up and the pipes are filled with water to keep the steel cool in a fire so it doesn't warp. It was done that way because the jubilee line was originally planned to be extended directly underneath, pushing the foundations right to the edge.
     
  15. editor

    editor Taffus Maximus

  16. Azrael

    Azrael circling Airstrip One

    Great link, thanks for that. :cool:

    It says the arch was "the largest of its kind in the world", which isn't in itself an argument for preservation, but it was a symbol of the early railway (or rather, railroad) age. English Heritage take such things into account. And as it happens, I do rather like the design.

    Modern railway architecture is fairly abysmal. The current Euston, about to bulldozed 40 years after it went up, has pride of place in the rogues gallery. Even notable exceptions like Stratford don't compare with the work of 1930s modernists like Charles Holden, probably because today we make a fetish of glass.

    [​IMG]

    Canary Warf station and Canada Water possible exceptions.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  17. Brainaddict

    Brainaddict chief propagandist (provisional)

    ooh, no, I take it all back - there's absolutely NO chance we'll end up with an anonymous glass box with all the charisma of an airport departure lounge. NO CHANCE AT ALL :mad::mad::mad:

    I wouldn't argue with the JLE station interiors - probably the best architecture in London for decades. Stratford's a bit meh for me, but I guess it's not terrible - which in itself is a break with recent tradition.
     
  18. Endeavour

    Endeavour -- --- .-. ... .

    i used to go past it on
    [​IMG]
    the bus when i was a kid
     
  19. Azrael

    Azrael circling Airstrip One

    Neat! Worth rebuilding, or has it benefited from nostalgia?
     
  20. lang rabbie

    lang rabbie Je ne regrette les gazebos

  21. teuchter

    teuchter je suis teuchter

    So Euston could have ended up looking like some kind of Soviet ministry...

    [​IMG]

    That would have been pretty cool.
     
  22. Azrael

    Azrael circling Airstrip One

    Thanks for those links. The apathy shown to conservation by an allegedly conservative government speaks volumes. :( :mad:

    The Soviet ministry would have been okay, with the Arch in front of it, though. I'm more convinced than ever that it should be rebuilt after reading those accounts. Betjeman's lament sums it up:-

    It would be beautiful you see, and of course people always think if you have anything beautiful it’s wicked nowadays. It has to be cheap.
     
  23. Prince Rhyus

    Prince Rhyus Spokesman of King Antonio

    They need to learn the lessons of St Pancras and build a station that is a centre for "civic activity" and something that people can take pride in, rather than building a big soulless glass box. Can't see it happening because everyone's got to make as much money from it as possible.
     
  24. davesgcr

    davesgcr Reading books

    Euston re-development on hold because of the financial situation

    yes - it should be rebuilt - like the Fraunkirche was in Dresden - part of the heritage of Londons first main line railway
     
  25. teuchter

    teuchter je suis teuchter

    A shopping centre?
     
  26. Azrael

    Azrael circling Airstrip One

    Glad someone's mentioned the Fraunkirche, which incorporates original stones in an impressive (and poignant, give their smoke-blackened state) fashion.

    Euston could be rebuilt in Classical style to match the Arch. A magnificent new Great Hall could be created to reflect and honour the original. What do people love about St Pancreas: the glass box they've bolted onto the end, or the soaring canopy of Victorian iron and glass?

    Of course this won't happen, given that architects by and large despise historicism in new builds and bleat "Pastiche! Urgh!" when it's suggested. Giant shoebox it is.
     
  27. teuchter

    teuchter je suis teuchter

    The St Pancras extension isn't a "glass box". It is fairly banal and could have been better. It would in fact have been better if it was more of a "glass box" if we take that ambiguous term to suggest less clunky detailing. However, part of the point of its banality is that it doesn't subtract from the main hall. The roof is kept low so that it doesn't interrupt the end of the Barlow shed, which is as it should be.

    Why does everyone love the renovated St Pancras shed? A combination of its massive scale and finely executed and ornate iron- and brick-work. It's beautiful. But it was built by a wealthy private company at a time when railways were a profitable business, and labour was cheap. (It was also the most expensive design submitted and ran into controversy at the end when it went over budget.)

    Pretty much the opposite of the current situation, then. To reconstruct that today would be immensely expensive. Which is why it's not a fair comparison to make. In any case, even if we could convince someone that it would be worthwhile to spend such a vast amount of money on a new train station, why not use that huge budget to build something amazing but of our own time?

    And there is a difference between pastiche and reconstruction, Frauenkirche style. To rebuild Euston exactly as it was at your favourite moment in history could be interesting, although expensive and probably impractical. But just to build something in neoclassical style because we're too scared to do anything else - I'd be embarassed to be a resident of a city that regressive and unambitious.

    Have you got any examples of large-scale buildings built in classical style in the past 10 or 20 years, that you feel have been successful, by the way?
     
  28. Crispy

    Crispy The following psytrance is baṉned: All

    How large? There's a new Quinlan Terry just gone up on Tottenham Court Rd next to the Dominion that I think is very succesful.
    (sorry for big image)
    [​IMG]
     
  29. Azrael

    Azrael circling Airstrip One

    Have you seen how much money they threw at the Jubilee Line Extension? :D If cost were the real issue, we'd be scuttling around in rabbit warrens. Actually, this isn't far off what the original -- privately financed -- underground stations are like, albeit with very nice tiles.

    You've highlighted the real issue: the bizarre view that historical architecture is outdated. It's timeless and can be adapted for technological progress. St Pancreas reinterpreted the style used for medieval cathedrals by incorporating 19th century materials like iron. It's entirely of its time. We could do the same. I'm not suggesting that the Great Hall be reconstructed, but used to inspire something new.

    I'd just like it to be an option, on the table with modern designs. The competition might force them to raise their game to rival Charles Holden's masterpieces, instead of producing mini-airports. If one of those is better, choose that.

    Oh, and on reflection you're right about the shed at St Pancreas. It's more of a steel box, and already looks shabby. You're right it doesn't detract, but it doesn't add either. Imagine extending their shed in the original style and scale. That would have been an amazing building.
    Good example. There are others -- the neo-classical building in Downing College, Cambridge -- but they're rare. I quite like the new Paternoster Square, which references neo-classicism, but I can't think of anything on the scale of Euston built in that style.
     
  30. Crispy

    Crispy The following psytrance is baṉned: All

    When it comes to building railway stations, I'd say the no.1 important factor is flexibility. Transport patterns change, and new infrastructure is always being built. Therefore, it's important to make future developments easy and cheap. That means, imo, large uninterrupted spans, little in the way of permanent structures within that space (ie no solid stone ticket office) and aesthetic designs that can adapt to future expansions/modifications without compromising their original intent. Classical architecture is badly suited for this sort of building. When they rebuild Euston, I expect to see a plain, functional shed, but with good materials and neat details. Internal functions should be in free-standing 'pods' or cabins, so that future modifications to teh station can move these functions around without causing great pain.
     

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