Rail is the backbone of public transport in the Western Cape, and train stations are critical anchor points for the movement of people on a daily basis. The existing Cape Town Station has seen decades of under-investment and declining rail patronage, and was in need of an upgrade which was prompted by the (then) approaching 2010 FIFA world cup in South Africa.
A number of concerns needed to be addressed in order for the station to reclaim a dignified civic purpose and transform it into a high class transport facility. The desire to integrate the station with the public realm and pedestrian routes formed a key influence on the spatial planning.
The ticket selling facilities were consolidated and relocated to the main entrances of the station, opening up the main concourse of the station to a large forecourt which was reimagined as an urban plaza with multiple entrances, making the transition from the train station to the CBD seamless and flexible. Existing discoloured glazing panels were replaced with clear glazing, allowing city views to be experienced from inside the building. The existing station deck was redesigned as a market, offering retail space for informal traders.
The Strand Street side of the building was conceived as a” high street” retail edge that faces the Grand Parade. A sculptural screen of steel, glass, timber and translucent panels forms a crest which adds an urban scale to this edge. The existing museum yard was reconfigured to provide a protected courtyard for retail and cultural activities including a transport museum, food court and a wide range of multi service businesses. The existing long distance bus facility was also relocated to provide a new facility that has a waiting area for commuters and travellers.