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Grimshaw design picked for Budapest rail station

The winning design, produced in collaboration with Nautes Architects, WSP, Vogt and Turner & Townsend, was selected from a shortlist of 12 anonymous entries from internationally recognised teams.

The principles of the competition were to increase the capacity of the existing station, preserve the heritage of the Eiffel Hall and connect the station to the city by injecting a ‘new lease of life’ to the surrounding area. The winning concept design creates a station ‘campus’, with a series of car-free streets, walkways, squares and a public park to up the station complex to the city and draw passengers and public to a ‘new’ city quarter.

The area has been severed by the railway corridor since the late 19th century and the concept masterplan integrates new pedestrian routes across the site and the underground station.

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A new boulevard connects Lehel Tér in the west to Kodály Körönd to the east, rising above the railway via a new bridge, and the existing Ferdinand Bridge is to be rebuilt and realigned. Running north from Nyugati Tér, another pedestrian route connects to the proposed conference centre. And east and west of the site further networks are created by a new link bridge spanning centrally over the surface station.

These routes connect people, through public spaces, to existing and identified opportunity sites around the station: to the north-east, a new residential area on Podmaniczky Utca is proposed while to the north-west, routes connect people to the proposed conference and new residential and retail destination.

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The judges of the competition said: “One of the main virtues of the submission is the creation of transparent, open, permeable, human-scale spaces that provide complex connections through logical lines.”

Central to the concept is the guardianship and celebration of the protected Eiffel Hall which is integrated with a new subsurface station and surrounding landscape. The design repositions the 14,000m2 building Eiffel Hall as a pedestrian public hall and incorporates cafés, a food hall and bookshop at ground level with central escalators guiding passengers to the extended tracks below ground. These tracks will, in future, receive trains from Buda via the future planned railway tunnel under the River Danube.

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To the north-east of the Eiffel Hall is the new station arcade, with a long-span roof structure soaring over the surface level station.

Drawing the two structures together is a newly created pedestrian walkway ― Eiffel Passage ― which connects passengers across the station campus.

A 3.5-hectare Linear Park along Podmaniczky Utca sits alongside the new station arcade and accommodates local uses including a football pitch and dog park. The Motor Hall within the park is to be restored with a proposal for reuse as a cultural and leisure facility. To the west of the Linear Park a new station square and a pedestrian-friendly Nyugati square – the primary arrival points for the station – pushes cars to the periphery of the site.

“Central to our design concept is guardianship of heritage, adaptive reuse and humanising of the passenger journey,” said Mark Middleton, partner at Grimshaw. “The approach developed through a collaboration of our London and Sydney studios and with local and international consultants, is one which protects and preserves the heritage of Nyugati Station and places its 21st century life firmly in the aesthetic of a civic space. Travel for passengers will no doubt be enhanced, but in parallel a new, revived destination for this beautiful, historic city will be created. We are incredibly honoured to be selected as the winners of the competition and look forward to working with the Budapest Development Agency to deliver the design and construction of the station in the coming years.”

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