A timber shell for a futuristic train station

Despite the roof’s smooth curve, there are only four curved timber beams in the whole structure.

Rising above the new Canary Wharf Crossrail Station, Crossrail Place features four floors of retail and restaurants, pavilions and station entrances, as well as a rooftop garden. These public spaces are unified by a complex timber lattice shell, which wraps around the building like a shell.

The station is part of Crossrail, Europe’s largest construction project, which will run for over 100km from the east to west, connecting 40 stations through new tunnels under London.

Spruce shelter

The 310-metre-long roof arches 30m over the park and stretches around the shops and entrances below. The roof’s lattice opens in the centre to draw in light and rain for natural irrigation, and opens along the sides and at either end to allow views of the water and surrounding streets. The Spruce glulam beams are sustainably sourced and support ETFE cushions, which are filled with air and lighter than glass. Where cushions are removed, the timber is protected by aluminium flashing.

Despite the smooth curve of the enclosure, there are only four curved timber beams in the whole structure. To seamlessly connect the straight beams, which rotate successively along the diagonals, the design team developed a system of steel nodes, which resolves the twist.

The roof garden is accessible from ground level via two connecting bridges, and bounded at each end by pavilions. The ETFE cushions, which are a highly insulating material, help to create a unique microclimate for the garden below. When open at night, the building glows, inviting visitors to use the public facilities and garden.

Crossrail Place was shortlisted for the World Architecture Festival (WAF) awards 2016.