Design of Paddington Station


A flagship Crossrail structure, the new station at Paddington will be constructed at the heart of one of London's most significant existing transport hubs. The opportunity to connect Crossrail with international air travel, national mainline, and London transport both above and below ground, drives the need to develop an iconic piece of infrastructure worthy of such a location. This is a significant challenge given the position of the new station: below the existing taxi rank and busy Eastbourne Terrace, and within just 3 metres of Isambard Kingdom Brunel's 150 year old mainline station. Since commencing design work on the station in 2009, URS have implemented fundamental changes to the original scheme. These will improve passenger experience, operational functionality, and reduce construction costs. The final scheme however is not without challenge: construction planning to minimise the impact on road traffic; complex links to adjacent underground stations; interfaces with the existing above ground buildings and mainline station. And of course construction of the main station box itself: 264 m long, 25 m wide, 25 m deep, framed with diaphragm walls and constructed top-down using sizeable plunge columns. A significant design and construction constraint is that the Crossrail running tunnels are driven through the end walls after diaphragm walling and remain live during the excavation of the box until the penultimate slab is installed. This paper discusses the architectural and structural engineering challenges encountered, and solutions developed, during the detailed design of the station. In particular it focuses on the changes introduced since the preliminary design stage, reviewing the driving factors for structural form and discussing the final design solutions which were implemented. This in turn exposes the requirement for the structural engineer in such an interdisciplinary project to produce efficient solutions which respond to the various requirements of the integrated design team.