Listed building consent and prior approval has been granted for a larger, more spacious ticket hall and new eastbound platform at Grade II listed South Kensington station, one of London’s landmark Underground stations. The scheme by Weston Williamson + Partners was unanimously approved by committee and the Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea council after more than a decade of rejected designs by different architects for this sensitive heritage site.
The design holistically addresses the operational capacity upgrade requirements while preserving, enhancing and celebrating the station’s key heritage assets including John Fowler’s Grade II listed revetment wall.
South Kensington station is one of the busiest on Transport for London’s (TfL’s) network, acting as a gateway to a world-famous cultural quarter and popular tourist destinations. The design will be delivered in three phases that, once complete, will provide increased capacity and step-free access throughout the station.
Phase 1 includes the ticket hall extension, a dedicated District and Circle line eastbound platform, an associated canopy and escape stairs. The ticket hall extension with repositioned gate-line, lifts, a designated waiting area and new platform stairs will significantly improve accessibility, space, passenger distribution and wayfinding.
The historic revetment wall forms the spine of the ticket hall extension; a large, linear skylight separates it from the new extension, introducing natural daylight, which both enhances the passenger environment and showcases the wall. The new canopy on the eastbound platform is ‘pulled back’ along its length to visually separate, preserve and celebrate the revetment wall and allow it to ‘breathe’.
Skylights strategically positioned along the length of the modular canopy and aligned to designated seating and landscape planting bays reduce the mass of the canopy and enhance the passenger experience at platform level.
Approval followed an extensive consultation programme; the design has also gained the support of key stakeholders including local residents, consultative working groups and London Underground.
A spokesman for the Exhibition Road Cultural Group said:
“Weston Williamson + Partners designs for the Phase 1 scheme make a considerable contribution to improving circulation, capacity, wayfinding and enhancing the user experience in the station. The designs are sympathetic to the heritage significance of the station, with sight lines and scale that restore a sense of the grandeur of the original station, without pastiche.”