Leading British architect shares expertise with DMU students

Final-year Architecture students at De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) have benefited from a guest lecture by an unrivalled expert in the design of transport interchanges and railway stations.


The Eurostar concourse at St Pancras International

Alastair Lansley CBE gave students insight into his best-known role as chief architect for the reconstruction of St Pancras International in London, the terminus of the high-speed rail line from the Channel Tunnel now known as HS1.

He discussed his remit, which included the contemporary design of a new 13-platform extension deck, as well as the reconstruction of the west side of the station in a historically-based neo-Gothic style, following the design of the original station building by Sir George Gilbert Scott.

Mr Lansley outlined how he worked in consultation with English Heritage, to sensitively refurbish the station, including the impressive railway shed designed by engineer William Barlow.

Students also heard about Mr Lansley’s role as project architect for the award-winning redevelopment of London’s Liverpool Street station and his involvement in the Ashford International station in Kent, the first gateway to Britain for Eurostar services from Europe.

Chris Jones, Principal Lecturer in Architecture at DMU, said: “This was a fascinating technical lecture outlining the challenges of fusing the old with the new, as well as the importance of infrastructure.


St Pancras International expertly fuses old and new architecture

“It ties in very well with the project we’ve set students for this term, reflecting the current issues of Brexit, European identity and diaspora.

“Part of the project requires students to design an information point and art installation in lightweight construction, within St Pancras’ first floor where the Eurostar arrives. 

“Students will also have the chance to work at Berlin’s AEDES studio, which is the city’s metropolitan laboratory of architecture and planning, in the historic old quarter of Naples, and in the Kings Cross area of London.”

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Seehab Ahmed, the student who represents DMU on the RIBA East Midlands Education Board, attended the lecture.

He said: “It was amazing to hear about the scale and ambition of the St Pancras project, as well as the impact it continues to have on people’s daily lives. 

“The lecture was particularly timely given that my first project of the term is to design an art installation to welcome passengers getting off the Eurostar. 

“I had the privilege of talking to Alastair afterwards and he shared some very insightful thoughts on the positive impact that even small projects can have. Our chat has really helped me in developing my own thoughts and progressing my ideas for the project.

“It was also interesting to hear Alastair’s thoughts on the future of St Pancras post-Brexit and what it will mean for our current cross-rail links to the Continent.”

This is the first of a series of high-profile speakers addressing Architecture students in DMU’s landmark Vijay Patel building this term.

They include Duncan Roberts, who has taught the timber frame self-build short course at the Centre for Alternative Technology based on the pioneering designs of Walter Segal; CJ Lim, Professor of Architecture and Urbanism at University College London, and Alex de Rijke, Director of dRMM London Architects, whose Hastings Pier design has been shortlisted for the 2017 RIBA Stirling Prize.

Posted on Friday 6th October 2017

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