Arup has designed HS2's Interchange Station, which will be a major transport gateway for the West Midlands, linking Solihull and the National Exhibition Centre (NEC). It is also the first ever station to achieve BREEAM ‘Outstanding’ certification. Once operational, the UK’s HS2 rail network will provide high-speed, low-carbon journeys between the UK’s two largest cities, Birmingham and London, with services continuing on to Manchester, the North West and Scotland using the conventional railway network, adding capacity and cutting journey times.

Our goal for Interchange Station was to design an environmentally friendly, net zero operational station from the very beginning. Working in partnership with HS2 and 12 local stakeholder organisations, our approach used sustainability as a mantra to shape every outcome. By doing this we could deliver a station that reflected its natural surroundings and provided a world-class passenger experience.

Connectivity at the core

As well as being sustainable, the station will be a major gateway station for the West Midlands region, connecting passengers to Birmingham, Leeds, Liverpool, and Manchester city centres. The station will boast four platforms and two high speed through lines for non-stopping services and includes cycle storage for 176 bikes, with further room for expansion as required.   

Connecting passengers to the NEC, Birmingham International and Birmingham Airport, an Arup-designed automated people mover (APM) can carry over 2,000 passengers per hour each way.

HS2 Interchange Station

Working with the environment for sustainable design

Our designs use existing environmental features to maximise natural daylight and ventilation, and a roof that allows rain to be caught and redirected through underground pipes to a harvesting tank where it can be reused to reduce mains water demand.

Inspired by the shape of a leaf, skylights point north to maximise daylight and minimise heat inside the concourse to maintain the temperature without relying on air-conditioning systems.

Roof skylights of HS2 Interchange station
The station’s architectural design focuses on sustainability, maximising natural daylight and ventilation and featuring a roof which allows rainwater to be captured and redirected from the main station building via a network of underground pipes into a rainwater harvesting tank to be reused, reducing mains water demand.

Lowering carbon impact with material efficiency

We maximised material efficiency and minimised embodied carbon use with in-depth efficiency analysis of key building materials and waste, using offsite fabrication and modularisation to reduce the carbon impact. Air source heat pumps and LED lighting are highly energy efficient, and the station and APM maintenance facility has over 2,000m2 of solar panels generating carbon zero electricity.

Sustainable and low-carbon materials are used throughout, with glulam timber offering a significant embodied carbon saving of 400 tonnes over steel. During construction, 95% of demolition material and waste will be diverted from landfill. 

Landscape design features include sustainable drainage to irrigate planted areas and create new natural habitats around the station, increasing biodiversity and enhancing native species. As our design came to life, we followed the concept of ‘touching the ground lightly’, retaining and protecting the existing landscape by removing complexity, minimising cut and fill, and working to maximise sustainability in a design that is harmonious with its local surroundings.

Creating a legacy

Our vision for station design is to deliver a building for passengers and the people who work in and around the station. We designed the Interchange project to be safe, user friendly, attractive and comfortable by making every elements seamless, intuitive and flowing to enable simple, onward connections.

The entire station complex is designed for future adaptability, with sustainable features driving net zero carbon emissions from day-to-day energy consumption.

Interchange Station is an exemplar of outstanding, contextual architectural engineering, where simplicity and elegance belies a diligent and inclusive approach, incorporating state of the art sustainable design and green technologies.

Tom Wine

Project Director, HS2 Ltd