The Jubilee Line extension is one of the greatest acts of British architectural patronage of recent years, comprising eleven new stations by as many architects. Canary Wharf Station is by far the largest − when the development of the area is complete, it will be used by more people at peak times than Oxford Circus, currently London’s busiest Underground destination.
The 300-metre-long station is built within the hollow of the former West India Dock using cut-and-cover construction techniques. At ground level, the station roof is laid out as a landscaped park, creating Canary Wharf’s principal recreation space. The only visible station elements are the arcing glass canopies that cover its three entrances and draw daylight deep into the concourse. By concentrating natural light dramatically at these points, orientation is enhanced, minimising the need for directional signage. Twenty banks of escalators move passengers in and out of the station, while administrative offices, kiosks and other amenities are sited along the flanks of the ticket hall, leaving the main concourse free and creating a sense of clarity and calm.
Due to the high volume of station traffic, the guiding principles in the design were durability and ease of maintenance. The result is a simple palette of hard-wearing materials: fair-faced concrete, stainless steel and glass. This robust aesthetic is most pronounced at platform level where the concrete tunnel walls are left exposed. In contrast to the simplicity of its materials, the station introduces many complex security and technological innovations: glazed lifts enhance passenger comfort and deter vandalism; access to the tracks is blocked by platform-edge screens, which open in alignment with the doors of the trains. Servicing is also enhanced, with access via maintenance gangways that allow the station to be maintained entirely from behind the scenes.
Jubilee Line Extension - Canary Wharf Station
Canary Wharf Station has the largest passenger capacity on the new Jubilee Line extension. At 35 metres wide 27 metres deep and 313 metres long the station is as long as Canary Wharf Tower - Britain's tallest building - is tall.
The station is entirely underground, built within the drained West India Dock, using cut and cover construction. A new park covers the station at ground level, where the only visible elements to announce the station are the three dramatic curved steel and glass entrance canopies. These structures prevent rain and wind entering the station, while admitting generous amounts of daylight deep into the station cavity.
The station's vast scale is designed to accommodate the substantial increase in passenger numbers expected when the planned developments at Canary Wharf are complete. The sheer volume of anticipated traffic defined the guiding principles in the design of the station: clarity of circulation, durability of materials and ease of maintenance. London Underground Ltd required a structure with a life span of 200 years. To ensure passenger safety and comply with the stringent fire regulations demanded in underground stations, no combustible materials could be used. These demands have resulted in a building with a simple diagram and with materials and finishes that are functional, resilient and elegant.
Twenty banks of escalators carry passengers to the ticket hall and then down to platform level. Whether alighting at platform level or entering the station at ground level, there is a single, clearly defined route for passengers, which minimises the need for directional signage. Ticket machines, administrative offices and shops are housed along the sides of the ticket hall, leaving the central space clear for passenger movement.
Reinforced-concrete columns, elliptical in plan, stretch from platform level to the roof where elliptical bearings allow the station to move in response to geological pressures. The concrete columns and roof structure were cast on site and have a natural finish. At their bases, where they can be touched, the columns are clad in stainless steel to prevent vandalism and damage.
The floor is covered in pre-cast concrete pavours. All other surfaces are stainless steel, aluminium or glass. This robust, engineering aesthetic is at its most pronounced at platform level where the concrete diaphragm walls that were cast into the ground been left exposed.
The Jubilee Line extension introduces security and safety innovations such as the platform-edge door-screens, which protect passengers from incoming and departing trains. Transparent glass lifts enhance passenger security and deter vandalism. All cabling is housed under the platforms or behind the walls, accessible via maintenance gangways, allowing the entire station to be serviced from behind the scenes.
Facts and Figures
Canary Wharf Underground Station
London, England 1991-1999
Total area of station 31,500m2 (excluding park)
Total length 313.85m
Total volume 250,000m3
Area of park 14,700m2
Ticket hall cabins
Entrance canopies (east and west)
Span of glazing 19.4m
Height above concrete edge kerb 4.9m
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