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Euro Star Terminus

Part 2 Project 2000
Sonia Grant
Mackintosh School of Architecture, UK
The site is located in the centre of Edinburgh and forms the last unresolved link between Edinburgh's New Town to the north and the Old Town to the south. The Flodden Wall (the old city wall) terminates the site at the Grassmarket.

Similarly, the site also forms the barrier between the gardens surrounding Edinburgh Castle and the 'built edge' of the city beyond. Yet, it belongs to neither.

I was therefore predominantly interested in investigating how to form the 'missing link' between the Old and New Towns, re-activating the Grassmarket as an urban square, through a building program which would define the city's 'built edge' rather than allowing it to encroach towards the gardens.

The proposal is for a train station catering for all terminating services to Edinburgh, plus a new Euro-star service. The building typology of the train-shed allowed me to create a sinuous linking piece between the Old and New Towns, that is nether part of the built fabric of the city it serves nor encroaching upon the gardens. The station's main entrance is conceived as an extension of the public realm of the Grassmarket.

The trains would reach the site via the old rail lines which used to run to the 'Caledonian Station'. This route, now an isolated piece of dual-carriageway (the Western Approach Road) would be converted back into rail tracks which then reach my site through a short tunnel under Lothian Road. In addition the station would take pressure off Edinburgh's existing Waverly Station which would operate purely as a through-through station. The two major stations would be linked by an already proposed, suburban rail network.

The new Scottish Parliament, being built at the end of the Royal Mile, is directly connected with my proposed station via the Cowgate. The Parliament has the potential to further promote Edinburgh as Scotland's political, economic and touristic centre.

Due to environmental and political reasons there has been a renaissance in rail travel over recent years. The station would hopefully protect Edinburgh's city centre from increasing pressure and pollution from road traffic, whilst re-enforcing the city centre as a hub of activity and place of arrival. Rail travel is the only mode of transport which enables people to arrive directly in the heart of a city, therefore giving me the chance to explore the sense of arrival with Edinburgh Castle looming above.

Sonia Grant

The ingenious integration of a large scale and challenging programme within an equally demanding and sensitive urban context makes for an intriguing and provocative project. Logistic and technical issues were thoroughly researched and elegantly resolved within a boldly modelled topographic structure which progressively mutates to accommodate the surrounding landscape and infrastructure before the platform concourse presents itself to the elongated space of the Grassmarket.

The geographic revision of this established context in respect of the new Parliament building makes the project all the more fascinating.

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