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Megaproject as Keyhole Surgery: London Crossrail

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Abstract:

London's east–west Crossrail is a civil engineering megaproject designed to produce a minimum of visible change at surface level. The paper explains the origins of Crossrail's 'keyhole surgery' approach, describes the station design process and considers its outcomes in a review of all eight subterranean stations with their twelve surface ticket halls along the central London section between Canary Wharf and Paddington. The strategy is compared and contrasted with Frank Pick's design thinking for London Underground and with the closer precedents of Paris's RER Ligne A. We show how the discreet keyhole concept has to be balanced against the requirements of (a) glazed fa├žades to bring daylight into interior circulation spaces, and (b) design and management of exterior circulation spaces, given the increases in footfall anticipated around each ticket hall when Crossrail opens in 2018. Urban design of station settings remains unfinished business.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.2148/benv.38.1.89

Publication date: March 1, 2012

More about this publication?
  • Built Environment is published quarterly in March, June, September and December. With an emphasis on crossing disciplinary boundaries and providing global perspective, each issue focuses on a single subject of contemporary interest to practitioners, academics and students working in a wide range of disciplines. Issues are guest-edited by established international experts who not only commission contributions, but also oversee the peer-reviewing process in collaboration with the Editors.

    Subject areas include: architecture; conservation; economic development; environmental planning; health; housing; regeneration; social issues; spatial planning; sustainability; urban design; and transport. All issues include reviews of recent publications.

    The journal is abstracted in Geo Abstracts, Sage Urban Studies Abstracts, and Journal of Planning Literature, and is indexed in the Avery Index to Architectural Publications.

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