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Competition: HS2 stations, London and Birmingham

High Speed 2 (HS2) has launched an international search for architects to deliver four new stations in London and Birmingham (Deadline:8 May)

The contracts – worth £220 million in total – cover Euston Station, Old Oak Common in west London, Birmingham Interchange and Birmingham Curzon Street. The search for a ‘master development partner’ to design, build and manage the multibillion-pound regeneration of Euston Station has also begun.

The Euston redevelopment project, which is opposed by the mayor of London, will transform a 21ha swathe of the capital, including the existing station buildings and many surrounding homes and businesses. There are also hopes that Philip Hardwick’s Euston Arch could be resurrected after being controversially demolished 65 years ago.

Initial concept for HS2 redevelopment of Euston

Initial concept for HS2 redevelopment of Euston

Initial concept for HS2 redevelopment of Euston

Preliminary designs propose a new HS2 terminal, 3,800 homes and 280,000m² of commercial space. The chosen development partner will work with the winning station design architect to maximise the oversite development and win outline planning permission for the surrounding masterplan before financing and delivering the scheme in time for the opening of the £56 billion HS2 line in 2033.

Transport minister Andrew Jones said: ‘The search for design teams to produce plans for new stations and world-class amenities for London Euston, Old Oak Common, Birmingham Interchange and Birmingham Curzon Street stations is a major step towards making HS2 a catalyst for growth across the country.

‘The winning bidders will need to ensure the stations provide the best possible customer experience. There are also huge opportunities for development near all the HS2 stations. HS2 is progressing its search for a partner to deliver new homes, shops and offices around Euston station once the core HS2 work is complete.’

Under the terms of the procurement, bidders will be able to bid for all four station packages but will be limited to winning a maximum of two, and only one of the two London station packages. Interested bidders will be shortlisted in the summer, with HS2 expected to award the contracts early next year.

The Euston redevelopment will be worth more than half of the £220 million total contract value. The contracts will be a mixture of design and programme management work, with HS2 expecting to see design and programme management teams partnering for the contracts.

The four stations are all in the project’s first phase and due to complete in 2026., Initial proposals have been drawn up by Grimshaw (Euston), Weston Williamson (Old Oak Common), Arup (Birmingham Interchange) and WilkinsonEyre (Birmingham Curzon Street). In February, WilkinsonEyre also replaced Grimshaw on the concept design contract for Euston Station.

Initial concept for HS2 redevelopment of Euston

Initial concept for HS2 redevelopment of Euston

Initial concept for HS2 redevelopment of Euston

The announcement comes two years after Old Oak and Park Royal Development Corporation chief executive Victoria Hills told AR’s sister title The Architects’ Journal that a competition for a landmark HS2 station in west London was on the cards.

It also follows criticism of HS2 chairman David Higgins’ preference for cost-reducing standardisation and economies of scale. Competition organiser Malcolm Reading warned in 2015 that this would come at the expense of ‘good design creating a sense of place and wonder’.

HS2 will connect London to Birmingham in its first phase, extending to Manchester and Leeds in its second phase. It is expected to be fully complete by 2033.

Euston Arch in 1896

Euston Arch in 1896

Euston Arch in 1896

Commenting on the launch, HS2 commercial director Beth West said: ‘We’re looking for the brightest and the best from across the industry to help us deliver one of the most tangible legacies of the HS2 project: three brand stations and a major expansion of London Euston.

‘All four present unique challenges and opportunities for the winning bidders. Together we will deliver world-class designs that help unlock wider local regeneration opportunities and provide unparalleled levels of accessibility, ease and convenience for the travelling public.’

David Biggs, managing director of Network Rail Property added: ‘Network Rail welcomes the opportunity to create a new London destination at Euston, mirroring its neighbour King’s Cross and St Pancras where our investment in the station acted as a catalyst, bringing inward investment and regenerating the whole area into a thriving new London quarter.

‘The HS2 terminal at Euston will have a similar effect, it will become the initial focus for the wider regeneration of the station and surrounding area with an opportunity to create a new vibrant commercial and residential district in the heart of London with fantastic connectivity to the rest of the UK and Europe.’

HS2 design panel chair Sadie Morgan previously called on contractors to team up with architects when bidding for new work on the project. Full details of the professional teams – either already appointed or currently bidding – for works and civils packages can be found on the HS2 website.

How to apply


The deadline for applications for stations designs is noon, 8 May. Teams interested in bidding for Euston’s master development partner have until noon, 17 May

Contact details

HS2 Procurement
High Speed Two (HS2) Limited
Two Snowhill, Queensway
B4 6GA

Tel: +44 2079443000

View the stations design contract notice for more information

View the Euston master development partner contract notice for more information

Q&A: with Laura Kidd

HS2’s head of architecture discusses her aspirations for the four landmark stations

Laura Kidd, HS2 head of architecture

Laura Kidd, HS2 head of architecture

Laura Kidd, HS2 head of architecture

Why are you now seeking architects for the four major HS2 stations and a Euston development partner?

With royal assent secured in February, HS2 now has the legal powers to begin construction of what will be one of the largest infrastructure projects in Europe. As part of that we need to refine and finalise the detailed designs for our four stations: Birmingham Curzon Street, Birmingham Interchange and London’s Old Oak Common and London Euston. This work will be led by the winners of the stations’ design contracts and – besides architects – will also include (but is not limited to) design managers, engineers, cost planners and estimators, environmental and health and safety specialists. To deliver the programme, we need to get our design partners on board next year, with start of construction at the station sites the following year.

What is your vision for the new HS2 stations and their surrounding areas?

HS2 is looking for creative and innovative designers to seize the opportunity of designing stations that will inspire and deliver a lasting legacy. This legacy will be realised by facilitating local area regeneration ambitions with designs that integrate with the local area plans to achieve the delivery of new jobs and homes. This will give many opportunities for local as well as international designers and architects. The station designers will need to meet with the HS2 design vision; creating people-centred design that provided stations that give an inspirational setting and respond to the needs of all, provide a contextual design response that gives a unique identity for each station and provides an architectural expression that can stand the test of time.

HS2 route

HS2 route

Source: Image by Cnbrb

HS2 route

What sort of architects and designers are you hoping will apply?

The procurement seeks to select the best multidisciplinary design firms, who will undergo a rigorous series of assessments. HS2 has embedded its strategic objectives, including the design visions, in the selection criteria, to ensure it selects well-balanced design firms, who are capable of delivering some of HS2’s most important designs.

Which other design opportunities are on the horizon, and how will the architects be procured?

A separate contest, also launched last week, will seek a master development partner to advise on, and later take forward, development opportunities for new homes, offices and retail space above and around the revamped London Euston. The winner will work with HS2, Network Rail, the station design contract winner and local authorities to deliver a unified plan to unlock the full potential of the area.

Are there any other similar high-speed stations and over-site developments you have been impressed by?

HS2 has developed its station requirements and aspirations by consulting with industry experts and the supply chain including designers and operators of significant high speed and conventional stations worldwide. This has crystallised HS2’s understanding of design excellence and clarified the requirements of a first rate passenger experience.

Singapore high-speed station case study: Q&A with Stefan Krummeck

The principal at TFP Farrells discusses lessons learned designed a competition-winning high speed station for Singapore

How will your bid-winning Singapore high-speed station project deliver a suitable terminus for the city state?

An exciting aspect of this project is that the city planners recognise the new station will spur development in the area surrounding the station, which is called Jurong East. The district will become Singapore’s second central business district, and a masterplan for the area, currently a large golf course, is being developed.

In light of these plans, and also recognising that the new station will be an international gateway to Singapore, we sought to make a strong statement with a design that clearly reflects the station’s status as a major landmark in the Jurong Lake District.

At the same time, the station scale is more modest than our previous high-speed rail stations at Beijing South and Guangzhou South. In Singapore, where land is precious – much like in Hong Kong – we need to use land resources as effectively as possible. The Jurong East terminus will be tightly integrated with the surrounding masterplan.

It is also important to us to build on Singapore’s reputation as a ‘garden city’. Our intention is that passengers will feel as though they are arriving in a park. We are exploring ways to introduce greenery into the station and to provide an attractive, people-oriented public realm outdoors.

TFP Farrells' competition-winning high speed station for Singapore

TFP Farrells’ competition-winning high speed station for Singapore

TFP Farrells’ competition-winning high speed station for Singapore

Which architectural, material and other methods did you harness in your design?

Our design process always begins with a careful examination of the surrounding context. From there we do a lot of hand sketching, and then exploratory 3D modelling to compare different options. We produce a lot of physical models too, both by hand and with 3D printing. In the bid we presented a large-scale physical model to the client, which proved a very effective way of communicating our concept.

The nature of a project of this complexity, with so many disciplines working together, means that it needs to be produced in a BIM environment. We’ve invested heavily in our BIM capability over the past few years. Hong Kong’s M+ Museum, now under construction, was done entirely in BIM.

In terms of materials and form, we are exploring opportunities to improve the sustainability of the building. The shape of the main hall will maximise natural lighting and ventilation, at the same time improving the quality of the underground spaces by bringing the outdoors inside, and minimising the sense of being below grade. We are investigating the possibility that transitional spaces will be naturally and mechanically ventilated, reducing air-conditioning loads.

Lastly we are looking at ways to optimise the time required for construction; for instance, by incorporating precast modular elements, and lightweight steel trusses that can be prepared off-site. We also try to rationalise the geometry such that larger structures are composed of smaller repeating elements. The main canopy, for instance, is a spherical segment giving constant curvature in both directions.

Beijing South by TFP Farrells

Beijing South by TFP Farrells

Beijing South by TFP Farrells

What advice would you have to architects on designing high-speed train stations?

Effective co-ordination between the many concerned parties is critical. For the Singapore terminus, integration with the surrounding master layout plan (MLP) means that we must work closely with the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA), the government agency in charge of planning the Jurong Lake District, in addition to our client, the Land Transport Authority (LTA). This is essential to ensure that the district is planned holistically, with transport and development always considered in tandem.

The LTA has extensive experience managing the Mass Rapid Transit (MRT), one of the world’s best metro systems, but an international high-speed rail terminus poses a quite different set of design challenges – for example, how to deal with customs, immigration, and quarantine (CIQ) facilities, how to accommodate both short-haul and express services, and consideration of security and emergency egress. In many ways an international railway station on this scale is comparable to a modern airport terminal.

Large-scale high-speed stations with CIQ facilities are rare, and an additional layer of complication comes from the fact that immigration authorities from both Malaysia and Singapore will be co-located here.

Equally important to the architectural form of the new station is strategically considering how to facilitate the movement of large volumes of passengers efficiently and safely. We always try to consider this from the user’s perspective to ensure that the human experience is a top priority throughout the design process.

We benefit from our past experience designing two of Asia’s largest high-speed rail stations in Beijing and Guangzhou, as well as numerous metro stations in Hong Kong, which has one of the most heavily used urban railways in the world. Our engineering partner AECOM contributes its experience with the West Kowloon Terminus in Hong Kong, which is possibly the only other significant underground high-speed rail station. Underground structures on this scale pose huge challenges in comparison with conventional railway stations.

The special challenges we face here are many but include emergency access, ventilation, negotiating other major underground infrastructure such as future planned expressways and MRT lines and guaranteeing the sizing is 100 per cent correct from day one, since later expansion or alteration is simply not possible.



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