Council says John McAslan and HOK to work on Ealing Broadway and Southall following design quality row

ealing broadway crossrail

Architects John McAslan and HOK will work to improve designs for two Crossrail stations in the London borough of Ealing on behalf of the local council.

In a statement released today, Ealing Council said it was unhappy with current designs by Bennetts Associates and revealed that it had parachuted the two “world renowned” firms to work on Ealing Broadway and Southall Crossrail stations.

Bennetts Associates responded by complaining of a “constraint on brief and budget”.

The announcement follows the row over the design quality of stations outside central London on the £15bn line.

Last month, Building exclusively revealed that the design of 27 surface stations outside of central London were not being independently design reviewed, sparking a warning from Richard Rogers that rail bosses were missing a once-in-a-century chance to produce stations that will stand the test of time.

McAslan – the architect behind the much-lauded redevelopment of King’s Cross station – will work on Southall station while HOK will work on Ealing Broadway.

Julian Bell, leader of Ealing council, said: “The council is also determined to ensure that we get the best possible station designs because they will be significant buildings in our town centres and experience shows good design brings greater regeneration benefits. 

“We have had lots of success influencing the interior plans for the station and I firmly believe we can work with Crossrail to develop an innovative design that will significantly improve what is proposed without significantly increasing costs or delaying construction by even a day.”

Councillor Bassam Mahfouz, cabinet member for transport and environment, added: “The current design for the outside of the station won’t ignite a yearning passion in the hearts of anyone in Ealing. Our architects will make a useful contribution so that we can continue to push to get the best looking and most practical station we can.”

Referring to Ealing Broadway, a council spokesperson added: “The council recognises this is a difficult site…however, the council is unhappy with the plans for the exterior of the station and believes that the façade and entrance need to have a more innovative design and use more interesting materials. 

“New designs will seek to improve the look and feel of the station building. This will include [HOK] redesigning the canopy and façade of the proposed station so that it is visually more striking, creates more of a landmark and enhances the surrounding area.”

Referring to Southall, the spokesperson added McAlsan would work to improve the “visual appearance” of the station and access.

“In particular, the council wants to harness the station’s contribution to the wider regeneration of the area, including proposed developments at Southall Gas Works, Middlesex Business Park and the town centre sites,” the spokesperson said.

A spokesperson for Bennetts Associates said: “The real issue here is the constraint on brief and budget.  The local authorities’ criticisms stem from Crossrail’s comprehensive spending review some time ago, which led to much reduced scope for several outlying stations. 

“If the feedback from the local authorities through their architects leads to a more ambitious brief and an appropriate budget, we would be delighted to use our design ability and in-depth knowledge of Crossrail’s requirements to improve the stations and their immediate environment for all concerned.”

Crossrail has also been contacted for comment.