As Newport is the first city reached by passengers between England and Cardiff, the station is a highly visible structure providing a gateway not only to Newport, but to Wales herself.
As a result of Newport being bisected by the railway tracks, each half of the city has developed its own character. Grimshaw’s design embraces this divide, creating two major new concourses.
The North Concourse is on the civic side of the city and focuses on the needs of commuters. The South Concourse, on the commercial side, is for connecting travelers, daytrippers and tourists. Each terminal’s function is reflected in the distribution of ancillary facilities around the station.
Ticket facilities and platform access are split equally between the two terminals. The spiral form of the station mirrors the journey taken within and helps to ease traffic flow by guiding the passenger from ground level up to the connecting bridge and back down onto the platforms. A yellow circular lift shaft acts as a central hub, integrating signage and train timetable data.
All the main facilities at both terminals are housed in continuous ETFE (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ETFE) and aluminium clad spirals. The geometry and application of materials blur the boundaries between wall and roof, as the primary cladding materials have been used for both purposes. An oculus at the peak of each building, which doubles as a compression ring to secure the structure.
The old station had a single terminal at the end of elongated platforms and many passengers entering and exiting trains were faced with a long walk to and from the concourse. There was also very little provision for disabled access across the tracks.
Therefore, the terminals and their connecting bridge have been positioned relative to the trains stopping positions, easing access and offering stronger connections to the city. Pedestrian routes surrounding the station have also been upgraded.
The redesign of Newport Station is part of a citywide regeneration masterplan by Newport Unlimited.