Volk’s Electric Railway Aquarium Station and Visitor Centre
A new Station and Visitor Centre for the world’s oldest surviving electric railway on Brighton seafront for Brighton and Hove City Council. Construction Cost £1.5M. Heritage Lottery Funded. Completed 2018. RIBA Stages 0-7
The proposed Aquarium Station and Visitor Centre consisting of ticketing, exhibition, education rooms and café, has developed from a playful interpretation of two train carriages passing one another. This has been combined with influences from traditional railway architecture, such as signal houses and small station buildings. Very often, these examples were comprised of long, narrow, pitched roof volumes which were unusually tall in order to gain a vantage point over the track, or to meet the height of the platform.
The concept has translated into the proposals as two long, narrow pitched roof volumes set on either side of a central flat roofed section. This central section appears as a continuation of the existing Volk’s Railway track, which creates a dynamic relationship between the railway cars pulling into/out of the platform.
The materiality and proposed construction method is also influenced by traditional train carriage construction, by traditional railway vernacular, and historical seaside fishing net huts, whilst at the same time meeting contemporary requirements for longevity in a public, and marine environment. The buildings, one clad in black ribbed rubber, the other in zinc, were manufactured off-site (modular construction) in a factory in Newhaven, delivered to site on lorries and craned onto their beach pebble filled gabion bases.