West Croydon Bus Station by Alex Upton

West Croydon Bus Station by architect Martin Eriksson : Photography: Copyright © Alex Upton

West Croydon Bus Station by architect Martin Eriksson : Photography: Copyright © Alex Upton

West Croydon Bus Station is a small architectural gem which sits atop a tarmac island marooned by a sea of red busses and the occasional tram - approximately 150 buses every hour to be more precise. The new station forms part of a continuing £50 million investment into the area with the aim to improve the public realm and transport infrastructure. The new station is designed to cope with a 20 percent increase in passenger capacity and provide a brighter more spacious environment than its predecessor once did. Upon the stations completion in late 2016 I was commissioned by Structura to photograph the development focusing on the Kalwall canopy which illuminates the station.

Architectural photography of West Croydon Bus Station

Architectural photography of West Croydon Bus Station

Taking long exposure architectural photographs amongst a maelstrom of people, buses and trams requires a heightened sense of awareness, increased agility and a level of patience which would test even the most stoic of architectural photographers. The fact that the winter sun faded around 5:00 pm coinciding with the exodus of city workers, shoppers and school children made the mission even more difficult. Yet it is at this time when the station looks its most elegant, with the brick and rust covered supports bathed in the incandescent lighting which emits from below the canopy. The Kalwall panels which form the stations roof structure increase the luminosity offered by these lights and by day allow diffused daylight to naturally light the station.

The stations striking and ambitious design came from the imagination of TFL’s own in-house architect Martin Eriksson, a former trainee at Herzog and de Meuron’s prestigious architectural practice. Acknowledgement of the bus station’s architectural merits came in 2017 when Martin won the accolade of RIBA Regional Project Architect of the Year for his efforts.

TFL’s new West Croydon Bus Station sits alongside the tramlines.

TFL’s new West Croydon Bus Station sits alongside the tramlines.

With around eight million passengers expected to use the station each year and more to come it is hoped the station will spark the regeneration of other parts of the town and help maintain the momentum in improving the travel experience for passengers at other strategic infrastructure locations.

The Stations use of natural lighting, earthy colours – which take inspiration from the neighbouring St Michael's Church - and the inclusion of trees and plants means it offers a glimpse of salvation from the grey urbanity that intermittently envelops it – even if that momentary retreat is to wait for the next bus. To see more of my architectural photographs of West Croydon Bus Station please head over to the projects section of my portfolio.

Project Team:

Architect: TFL's In-house Architect Martin Eriksson
Location: West Croydon, London, UK
Developer: Transport for London
Photography Client: Structura
Architectural Photographer: Alex Upton

Grand Central External Images by Alex Upton

Grand Central Station Signage - Photography: Copyright  © Alex Upton   

Grand Central Station Signage - Photography: Copyright © Alex Upton  

Recently updated to my portfolio are a selection photographs documenting the external cladding installed on the lower portion of Birmingham’s Grand Central Station and the adjoining John Lewis retail development. Taylor Maxwell once again commissioned me to focus on the materials they supplied throughout the building with a focus on the curved granite walls.

The stainless steel cladding which adorns the upper portion of the structure is hard not focus upon when photographing the building as its undulating surface distorts the surrounding architecture creating myriad opportunities for warped images of the city and its inhabitants. As of this moment construction is ongoing with work still taking place on the platforms and around the perimeter of the building. Having access to observe and document such a large scale project is incredibly insightful, especially when it comes to understanding both the logistic and engineering difficulties which had to be overcome in order to keep the station operating, with this in mind I have an even greater appreciation for both the building and those whom worked on it. Also included in this set of photos are images from the grand opening of phase one. 

Grand Central Station Birmingham by Alex Upton

Grand Central Station Platform - Photography: Copyright © Alex Upton  

I was recently commission by Taylor Maxwell to photograph both their internal and external cladding instillations at the recently renovated Grand Central Station in Birmingham - formerly New Street Station. I was especially excited to take on this project and return to the city I grew up in and see for myself the transformation that had taken place. With memories of the old, dreary concourse still stubbornly set in my mind I was pleasantly surprised upon my arrival to see how the once claustrophobic space had been expanded into such bright, spacious accommodating area. I can now enthusiastically recommend anyone to travel to Birmingham safe in the knowledge their first impression of the city will no longer be marred by its dystopian infrastructure.

If you head over to my portfolio you can see a small selection of the internal photographs I captured of the cladding installation on and around the platform area. Work is still ongoing and unfortunately due to strict health and safety regulations tripods weren't allowed on the platforms so you will have to forgo any ghostly shots of trains sweeping through the station. The external shots are to soon follow.