The growth of large cities in the world today has been strongly based upon the mass transportation systems that enable people to arrive at the city and to move within the city. The very first city to explore this potential was London; and an aerial view of London a hundred years ago reveals the chaos that resulted from the first interface between these railway stations and the city at large.
The mainline stations of London, such as London Bridge south of the river, show a chaotic relationship between the urban fabric and the new newcomer, the railway station itself. London Bridge is in many ways such an early station that it is a kind of transportation slum today, with serious problems about the urban design relationships between the London Bridge station itself, the buildings around, the other transportation systems of road and connections to other rail systems in the area. It was at Charing Cross Station, just north of the River Thames, that they had the first opportunity to look at how to bring up to date a major London railway station and its relationship with the urban infrastructure around it. Right from the outset I saw that the resolution of the station that we designed itself was totally intertwined with the urban design problems of the area around it.
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