A tale of two London stations this week – one a glorious example of what the new can bring to the old, the other a grim warning of what it can take away, says Robert Clark
With its beautifully restored iron roof, which retains the original blue finish, and its stunning glass extension, St Pancras International station is a superb example of the fusion between old and new architecture.
As we have recently seen, this first-class structure not only provides a fitting gateway to Europe, but is also becoming a focal point for this part of the capital, thanks to its many shops, bars and restaurants.
What I particularly like about the design of this station is all the little intricacies that would normally be cost-prohibitive in today’s market.
By contrast, St Pancras’ near neighbour at Euston is an example of how modernisation can rip the soul out of an area. I don’t think this station or its environs ever recovered from the demolition of the original Doric Arch in the sixties to make room for the bland modern blocks that form this abomination.
Rather than attracting people to the area, this station just makes you want to head for the first train north!
St Pancras International was completed in November 2007 as the terminus of the Channel Tunnel high-speed rail link. The original train shed was designed by William Henry Barlow, and was the largest single-span structure built up to that time. Next year the Midland Grand Hotel at the front of the station will reopen.
Euston is the southern terminus of the West Coast Main Line. The original station was designed by Philip Hardwick and opened in 1837. Despite a public outcry, the building, including the Euston Arch, was demolished in 1962.
Robert Clark is managing director of contractor Durkan