A new feature roof is being installed for Sydney’s Central Station, as part of the Sydney Metro construction works, creating a new landmark for the city.

Minister for Transport and Roads, Andrew Constance, said the roof over the Northern Concourse is nearly two thirds complete, after workers installed the steel girders, affectionately known as the “hockey sticks”, and cassette roof sections.

“The 80m-long and 40m-wide roof extends from the northern end of Platform 8, to Platform 16, and will sit more than 16m above ground to enable natural light to filter into the station,” Mr Constance said.

“More than 500 workers are currently delivering the Sydney Metro works at Central, with more than 5,000 working across the Sydney Metro City and Southwest project.”

The roof structure was manufactured and preassembled in the Hunter Valley town of Kurri Kurri, before large sections were transported to Sydney in the middle of the night.

Principal Contractor, Laing O’Rourke, has worked with architects Woods Bagot and John McAslan and Partners on the bespoke design for the 330 tonne roof.

John Prentice, Principal, Woods Bagot, said, “This one-in-100-year opportunity to revitalise Central Station comes with great responsibility and humility. In giving the station an entirely new functional and experiential vibe the bold 21st century architectural interventions must uphold the bold Edwardian railway architecture of the original terminus.

“Customer centred thinking is 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.”

The form of the new roof was derived from the vaulted profiles which are already a dominant feature of the existing heritage buildings. It also frames views to Central Station’s heritage clock tower. 

The materials were selected to compliment the heritage of the station, built in 1906. 

John McAslan, Executive Chairman of John McAslan and Partners, said, “Like our King’s Cross scheme in the UK, this project will give Sydney a great new city space at the heart of one of the world’s most historic stations.” 

The exterior is the same natural aluminium finish as the historic grand concourse roof and is expected to patina with age, blending the new and old together. 

The roof also features kite-shaped skylights which will admit daylight into the new concourse. 

Troy Uleman, Director, John McAslan and Partners Sydney, said, “Designed as a great, light filled unifying space at the heart of the station, helping to make wayfinding more intuitive; whilst also highlighting the heritage and civic value of the early 20th century terminus building, smaller Electric building and reemphasising the Eddy Avenue entrance. 

“For the first time in a long time, we will be able to experience these buildings in their full grandeur.” 

As part of the upgrade to Australia’s busiest railway station, two new underground Metro platforms are being built as well as the landmark Central Walk – a new underground pedestrian concourse to help commuters connect between light rail, suburban and inter-city trains, the Metro and buses.

Excavation work to build the underground Metro platforms “box” has reached 18m below ground level and preparations are in place to break into the tunnel in the coming months, as workers head for the final depth of 30m.

Key highlights about the roof installation include:

  • 58 cassette sections being installed, each weighing around five tonnes
  • Largest cassettes are 16m long and 4.5m wide
  • Eight girders being installed, each weighing 30 tonnes
  • Longest girders are near the Station Master’s Office, measuring 21m long
  • 21,000 square metres of existing canopy was demolished for the new roof
  • Roof has perforated aluminium cladding panels, 21 distinctive diamond shape skylights, lighting and speakers

Sections of the roof will be progressively installed over the Northern Concourse until the end of 2020, with the Central Walk expected to be open to commuters in 2022.

Sydney Metro construction will continue with metro rail services through the city expected to start in 2024.

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