Laser-Line Bullnose Fascia used on Bus Station
Digbeth Bus Station
Scope of works:
Birmingham Coach Station (formerly Digbeth Coach Station) is a major coach interchange in Digbeth, Birmingham, England offering services to destinations throughout Great Britain and also to Belfast and Dublin. National Express, the largest scheduled coach service provider in Europe, has its national headquarters on the site. The refurbishment has been estimated to have cost £15 million. The old coach station closed in November 2007 for redevelopment and during reconstruction National Express used a temporary site in Oxford Street on the opposite side of Digbeth High Street, called Birmingham Central Coach Station. The new station has been awarded an ‘Excellent’ rating under the BRE Environmental Assessment Method – the most widely used system for judging how environmentally friendly a building is.
The original station was built as a Midland Red coach station in the 1920s/30s. This later became a National Express coach station, with the frontage on Digbeth High Street being constructed in the 1960s. The ground floor housed a waiting room and cafe. Further along the ground floor were, and still are, private retail units which are let to independent stores.
In 2002, plans became public for the demolition and reconstruction of the coach station. This came after numerous complaints and bad reputation with relation to the station. The coaches entered the shed at the back, and the fumes would collect under the roof. As well as having a smokey atmosphere, it was also very draughty. The waiting room had become dated and the cafe had downscaled massively since it’s opening in the 1960s.
The original proposals from National Express were designed by MAKE Architects, and showed an open air parking area for the coaches and a sheltered waiting area with jagged roof. Because the freehold to the retail units had been sold on, only half of the Digbeth High Street frontage could actually be redeveloped by National Express.
The MAKE Architects design was approved in outline, but as a new director took over the company, plans were made for an alternative design. In 2007, a full planning application was submitted by National Express for a new design by SBS Architects which proposed a less radical redevelopment of the station. The frontage was to remain but be clad in copper panels, whilst the shed to the rear would be demolished. New full height glazing would be installed around the ground floor, topped with a white canopy with the underside lighting. The interior would also be refurbished.
This application was approved and the coach station closed soon after. A temporary coach station was opened on the opposite side of Digbeth High Street in a temporary structure, allowing passengers to travel to and from the same location by coach. Work was initially carried out by Ashford Construction, however, they fell into administration part way through work and this led to construction grinding to a halt. A new firm took over a few weeks later.
The new coach station was opened in late 2009 by Fabio Capello, the ex -England national football team’s coach. The temporary station was closed down and will be redeveloped as part of the Smithfield Court development project
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