Designed by Woods Bagot in collaboration with John McAslan + Partners the upgrade to Sydney’s iconic Central Station is designed to not only make commuting more efficient but also to act as a catalyst of cultural and economic activity.

With 96 percent of Sydney’s train services concentrated through Central Station, the historic hub forms the backbone of the city’s metropolitan rail network. The renewal of this 112-year-old station is a pivotal milestone within the larger transformation of Sydney’s public transport infrastructure.

A first major step in the renewal is the phased installation of the roof over the Northern Concourse, nearly two-thirds complete, as part of the new Central Walk concourse linking suburban trains to new underground platforms.

A dominant feature of the roof are the skylights. Shaped like kites, they admit daylight into the new concourse, helping cement it as a clear orienting space joining all the parts of the station together. The roof was manufactured and pre-assembled by a team based in Kurri Kurri, New South Wales. Its installation over the Northern Concourse will be completed at the end of the year.

The lightweight canopy will dramatically over-sail the heart of the station as part of Sydney Metro, joining new and old to create a recognisable place and represent the heritage of Central Station to the people of Sydney.

The roof is 80m long and 40m wide and extends from the northern end of Platform 8 to Platform 16. It also allows natural light to filter through to the platforms 16m below.

Equally, it rises 16m above the concourse, becoming a landmark covered public space which will be the centre-piece of the refurbished station.

The one-in-100-year opportunity to revitalise Central Station comes with great responsibility and humility. In giving the station an entirely new functional and experiential vibe the bold 21st century architectural interventions must uphold the bold Edwardian railway architecture of the original terminus.

John McAslan, executive chairman of John McAslan + Partners,says, “Like our King’s Cross scheme in the UK, this project will give Sydney a great new city space at the heart of one of the world’s most historic stations.”

According to Troy Uleman, director, John McAslan + Partners Sydney, “Designed as a great, light filled unifying space at the heart of the station, helping to make wayfinding more intuitive; whilst also highlighting the heritage and civic value of the early 20th century terminus building, smaller Electric building and reemphasising the Eddy Avenue entrance."

"For the first time in a long time, we will be able to experience these buildings in their full grandeur,” he says.

Woods Bagot principal, John Prentice, describes customer-centric thinking as one hallmark of the design process to "transform Sydney’s Central Station into a place like no other". 

"Generous, distinctive and memorable, Central Station's new underground concourse will eliminate the ‘travel trudge’. Our design approach has been to walk in the shoes of the customer every step of the way to create a truly great experience.

"Finding your way around intuitively in uncluttered and beautifully finished spaces has been a major design focus. Customers will freely and effortlessly move through the space, know where they are at any time, and change easily between trains, buses, light rail and the new Sydney Metro," says Prentice.

Image: Supplied