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Sydney Central Station

John McAslan + Partners and Woods Bagot are the architectural partners delivering the Sydney Metro upgrade to Central Station, a key component of the Sydney Metro City & Southwest project.

The renewal of Australia's biggest railway station is underway, with the recent announcement that Laing O'Rourke has won the A$955m (US$746m; £538m) contract for the Sydney Metro City & Southwest upgrade of Central Station, including Central Walk. The station is a key one within the A$20 billion Sydney Metro project, Australia's biggest public transport infrastructure project.

Jointly leading the multi-disciplinary, international design team are architects John McAslan + Partners and Woods Bagot: collectively, the two Sydney-based studios will give the station an entirely new functional and experiential vibe.

Key heritage qualities of the 112-year-old station will be emphasised along with the introduction of new architecturally-inspiring elements as part of a scheme that amplifies Central Station as a Sydney icon. Signalling a step-change in the station's functional, urban and cultural contributions to the city, the project will trigger much higher levels of people-movement and energy, and wider civic and commercial renewal.

The design team has impeccable credentials. Renowned UK architect John McAslan + Partners designed the highly celebrated and multi-awarded regeneration of London's King's Cross Station, restoring the 170-year-old station and adding a highly innovative concourse to accommodate up to 150,000 passengers per day. Woods Bagot's exemplary transformation of Sydney's Wynyard Walk commuter link injects civic, cultural and commercial energy by connecting Wynyard Station with Barangaroo and the waterfront.

John McAslan, Executive Chairman of John McAslan + Partners, states: "We are delighted at being selected to work on such a prestigious transport initiative, and are looking forward to contributing to this landmark project.

"The world’s leading cities, Sydney among them, are under extraordinary pressure in terms of the development of transport infrastructure in relation to urban fabric. With 96 per cent of Sydney train services currently calling at Central Station, this interchange performs a critical function and impression of the city," Mr McAslan said.

Woods Bagot Principal, John Prentice, describes customer centered thinking as one hallmark of the design process to "transform Sydney’s Central Station into a place like no other". 

"Generous, distinctive and memorable, Central Station's new underground concourse will eliminate the "travel trudge". Our design approach has been to walk in the shoes of the customer every step of the way to create a truly great experience.

"Finding your way around intuitively in uncluttered and beautifully finished spaces has been a major design focus. Customers will freely and effortlessly move through the space, know where they are at any time, and change easily between trains, buses, light rail and the new Sydney Metro," said Mr Prentice.

Design leader for Woods Bagot, Neil Hill, says the concept design is intended to be purposeful, functional, sculpturally rich and synthesised with the historic qualities of the original station. While delivery of the core scope of works has been a priority, the design also creates a series of “urban rooms” – civic scale spaces such as new triple height spaces as part of a broader urban and civic approach. 

"The craft and richness of stonework evident in the existing building are reinterpreted to form new textured sandstone walls into the new Metro Box, establishing the exceptionally crafted subterranean architecture firmly within the historic precinct and providing a civic quality to the new station works," Mr Hill said.

Below ground, the atmospheric qualities of volume, surface, and natural light characterise the design scheme for the Central Station upgrade. With respect to existing hierarchies of arches and materials, the proposal has a clear relationship with Walter Vernon's architecture of the station above. While the interfaces between old and new will be quite distinct, they will be architectural segues rather than jump-cuts.

The Central Station metro upgrade includes the main concourse, Central Walk (connecting the Sydney Metro platforms to Chalmers Street), northern concourse (interface between the new metro and the existing station) and the metro box platforms. 

Central Station is the backbone of Sydney’s public transport network, with more than 250,000 people passing through the station every day. That number is forecast to grow to 450,000 in the next two decades. The Central Walk concourse will better connect customers to trains, buses, light rail and the new Sydney Metro. Features of Central Walk include:

-A 19-metre wide tunnel from Chalmers Street, linking to new metro platforms under Central
-New, easy access points to Sydney Trains platforms 16 to 23
-Escalators directly to suburban platforms for the first time.

As Sydney director Domenic Alvaro explains, the project is a significant win for Woods Bagot and the result of the firm’s deliberate expansion in the Australian transport sector.
“Central Station Metro is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to create a lasting legacy for the people of Sydney. My full credit to the Woods Bagot collective intelligence model – forging great relationships with Transport for NSW on the back of the Wynyard Walk project and Laing O’Rourke on the Sydney Yard Access Bridge, and in the collaboration with John MsAslan + Partners. Equally, it’s a measure of the skill and dedication of our growing transport team who worked intensely on the bid for many months.”

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Sydney Metro is Australia's largest public transport project. It will transform Sydney, delivering more trains and faster services for customers across the network. A new stand-alone railway network, Sydney Metro is the solution to clearing the city's public transport bottlenecks and will deliver a quality of rail service never before seen in Australia. Sydney Metro City & Southwest will extend metro rail between Chatswood and Bankstown, including a new crossing beneath Sydney Harbour, new railway stations in the lower North Shore and CBD, and the upgrade and conversion of the current line between Sydenham and Bankstown.


About John McAslan + Partners

John McAslan + Partners develops distinguished projects across the globe in the cultural, education, transportation, mixed use, landscape, residential and hotel sectors. JMP's transportation portfolio includes the celebrated King's Cross Station in London, completed in 2012 for the London Olympics, and the recipient of some 35 international architectural and engineering awards.
Significant transportation experience also includes: Bond Street Station, London, for the £15 billion Crossrail line, Europe's largest infrastructure project due for completion later this year; Belfast's new Transport Hub; Chicago's Union Station; and, key projects in India including Varanasi Junction and Anand Vihar Transport Hub in New Delhi, and ten stations for Delhi Metro, completed in time for the Commonwealth Games in 2010. The practice is also engaged in the design of six Green Line stations within the $35 billion Doha Metro project by Qatar Rail, currently under construction.

About Woods Bagot

Woods Bagot is a People Architecture company. We place human experience at the centre of our design process in order to deliver engaging, future-oriented projects that respond to the way people actually use space.
We do this as a global design and consulting studio with a team of over 850 experts working across 17 studios in Australia, Asia, the Middle East, Europe and North America.

Our global studio model allows us to work collaboratively across time zones and borders, using the latest technology to share design intelligence and strengthen our knowledge base around the world.

Woods Bagot is currently working with Laing O'Rourke as the architect of the Sydney Yard Access Bridge to provide construction and operational maintenance access for Sydney Metro and Sydney Trains.


  • Sector

    Masterplan, Conservation + Heritage, Infrastructure

  • Location

    Sydney , Australia

  • Description


  • Client

    Laing O'Rourke, for Transport for NSW & Sydney Metro

  • Size


  • Cost

    A$955m (US$746m; £538m)

  • Team

    John McAslan + Partners design team: John McAslan, Fanos Panayides, Colin Bennie, Katherine Watts, Andy Harris, Eddie Behrens, Rhys Roberts, Stephen McGrane, Elliot Hill, Line Spengler, Nik Van-Herpt

    Woods Bagot design team: Neil Hill, Domenic Alvaro, John Prentice, Martin Fox, Larisa Mos, Dinko Arar, Kaustav Gupta, Glenda Yiu, John Morris, Rob Wright, Stephen Taskin

  • Status

    2018 onwards

Sloane Street Masterplan, Infrastructure, Landscape + Public Realm London, UK 2013 Onwards
Royal British Columbia Museum Masterplan, Culture Victoria, Canada 2017
Chhatrapati Shiavji Maharah Vastu Sangrahalaya Masterplan, Conservation + Heritage, Culture Mumbai, India 2014 Onwards
Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus Masterplan, Conservation + Heritage, Infrastructure Mumbai, India 07/12/2014
Library & Student Hub, Ambleside Campus, University of Cumbria Masterplan, Landscape + Public Realm, Higher Education Cumbria, UK 2014
Natural History Museum Masterplan, Conservation + Heritage, Culture London, UK 2013 Onwards
Wood Wharf Masterplan London, UK 2012 Onwards
Olympia Park Masterplan, Landscape + Public Realm, Russia, Commercial Moscow, Russia 2012
The Burrell Collection Masterplan, Culture Glasgow, Scotland 2012 Onwards
St Paul's Girls' School Masterplan, Conservation + Heritage, Schools London, UK 2011 Onwards
Msheireb Residental Quarter, Doha Masterplan, Doha, Residential, Commercial Doha 2011 onwards
King's Cross Station Masterplan Masterplan, Infrastructure London, UK 2013
Stanislavsky Factory Masterplan Masterplan, Russia Moscow, Russia 2010
Tate Britain Masterplan Masterplan, Culture London, UK 2009 Onwards
University of Manchester Masterplan Masterplan, Higher Education Manchester, UK 2009
Oxford Road Corridor Masterplan, Infrastructure Manchester, UK 2007
Miroglio Headquarters Masterplan, Landscape + Public Realm, Commercial Alba, Italy 2007 Onwards
University of Lancaster Masterplan Masterplan, Landscape + Public Realm, Higher Education Lancaster, UK 2006 Onwards
Marble Arch Masterplan, Landscape + Public Realm, Infrastructure London, UK 2005
10 Palace Gate Masterplan, Conservation + Heritage, Residential London, UK 2002
Fresh Kills Masterplan, Landscape + Public Realm New York, USA 2002
Yapi Kredi Bank Operations Centre Masterplan, Commercial Gebze, Turkey 1999
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