Levolux in the groove at Hackney Wick

Following a £25 million redevelopment project, Hackney Wick Station in East London is impressing passengers and staff, with its board-cast concrete staircase, weathered Corten steel cladding and a custom external screening solution from Levolux.

Dating back to 1866, Hackney Wick is steeped in history and this is reflected in the new station architecture, with references to an industrial revolution and links to the river Lea that flows nearby. This area of east London, which lies immediately west of the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, was earmarked for regeneration as part of an Olympic Legacy project. Almost 6 years after the London 2012 Olympic Games closing ceremony, its time has finally come.

Designed by Landolt + Brown architects, the new overground station has been comprehensively overhauled. It features new entrances to the north and south, complete with new staircases and lifts. It also benefits from a new ticket hall to the north and improved circulation areas. The new station offers a vastly improved experience for staff and passengers alike.

A significant proportion of the new station is cloaked in a Levolux external screening solution, featuring vertical aluminium fins. The rectangular-shaped fins, each measuring 250mm deep by 50mm wide, are set at 170mm centres to create an interesting architectural feature.

The vertical fins, which are formed from extruded aluminium sections, were not only chosen for their shading and screening characteristics. The grey-brown coloured fins provide a visual cue to the weeping willows and reeds that were synonymous with the area. This is most effective where they enclose the main staircases.

Levolux’s Infiniti® Fin system was the obvious choice for the project. Its unique, patented design has concealed fixings for an uncompromised appearance. It is also extremely flexible and can accommodate a vast range of fin profiles, from oval, aerofoil-shaped or in this case rectangular.

Hackney Wick station is covered with 638 vertical fins, in lengths that range from 2 to 7.1 metres. As an additional feature, the depth of each fin applied to the two staircases changes along its length. The top of each fin has a depth of 250mm, but below 1.9 metres the depth reduces to 143mm. The decreased depth at low level helps to maximise daylight levels within the building and it improves outward visibility for pedestrians.

Special stainless-steel lock plates concealed within the rear of each fin are connected to aluminium angle brackets and these are secured to an aluminium carrier that extends around both staircases at roof level. The same lock plates and angled brackets are used at low level, but here they are secured directly into a concrete slab at 700mm metre centres.

For additional bracing, tie bars pass through each fin in two places; at low level and 3.6 metres below the top bracket. This arrangement ensures the screening structure remains stable and secure even if subjected to extreme wind or snow loads.

To complement the scheme and for long-lasting good looks, Levolux supplied each aluminium fin with an attractive grey-beige powder coating in a smooth satin finish. This creates an interesting contrast with the board-cast concrete and weathered Corten steel cladding.

Opening in May 2018, the redeveloped Hackney Wick station is far removed from the typical TfL station design with conflicting expanses of concrete, glass and plastic. The careful choice of materials and finishes, including the external screening fins from Levolux, give the station a gritty, industrial character that is proving to be popular, not just among commuters and staff, but also discerning architects.