New look for New Street

Steve Roman

Challenge

Transforming an overcrowded, 1960s-era railway station into a stunning example of world-class architecture.

Solution

Thousands of mirror polished Supra stainless steel panels create a distinctive, dazzling façade for what now stands as an attractive city landmark.

Delivery

Steel grade: Outokumpu Supra 316

Birmingham New Street Station was once famous for its cramped spaces and grim exterior. Now, it stands proudly as a gateway to the country’s second-largest metropolis, thanks to innovative design work, a five-year renovation and the aesthetics of stainless steel. When refurbishment began in 2010, as many as 140,000 passengers were using the station each day – more than twice the capacity foreseen in the 1967 refit.

To relieve the overcrowding and bring Birmingham New Street’s appearance into the 21st century, designers expanded the concourse to three and a half times its size and added an atrium to bring in sunlight. Platforms were made more accessible with new escalators and lifts. However, the station’s most talked about feature after its September 2015 reopening was the distinctive façade, the curves and waves of mirrored stainless steel envisioned by architect Alejandro Zaera-Polo as a way to represent the motion and flows taking place inside.

 

Industry meets design

The reflective façade consists of 8,000 panels made from Outokumpu’s Supra 316 stainless steel. No single panel is alike – the curvature of the surfaces demanded that each of the 3 millimeter-thick pieces be laser cut to individual dimensions before being polished to a shine and finished for delivery to minute. Once installed, they create the 20,000-square meter surface that cocoons the concrete station building.

This futuristic façade both amplifies the existing light in the immediate area and mimics the sky or surrounding urban architecture with impressive visual effect.

 

A material for the ages

In addition to its aesthetic advantages, stainless steel is an ideal material for façades like those of Birmingham New Street station. Its high strength and anti-corrosive properties mean that it can easily stand up to the harshest wind and rain of northern England.

As stainless steel has an incredibly long life cycle, Birmingham New Street can shine for decades or even longer, ensuring that this new addition to the cityscape will remain a recognizable symbol of Birmingham for generations to come.

Recommended products and insight

Building and infrastructure

Landmark buildings and bridges make a statement. When they’re built of stainless steel, that statement reflects an enduring legacy – a legacy of timeless beauty, exceptional strength and unmatched durability.

Façade

Building façade material selection is critically important. The material must be visually appealing, low maintenance and impervious to weather and pollution.

Deco

There is a wide variety of surface finishes available for our stainless steel products. Decorative cladding that perfectly matches the architect’s vision. Functional and decorative surfaces for elevators and other indoor spaces. 

Dillenburg, Germany

Today’s leading architecture is dazzling – made even more stunning when clad in stainless steel. Famous buildings around the world showcase the polish and performance of Outokumpu Dillenburg stainless steel.

Sustainability

Outokumpu's four value propositions: recycling maximized, nothing to hide, pays for itself and indispensability showcase Outokumpu's strengths, which answer to key sustainability needs. By selecting Outokumpu's stainless steel, our customers also benefit from these in their own sustainability efforts.