Sustainable experimentations and transport innovations – Weston Williamson + Partners

Specialising in solving urban issues through innovative transportation systems and smart residential schemes, Weston Williamson + Partners are leaders in these sectors.

Working closely with engineers and city planners, the architectural and urban design practice has built a reputation for excellence over the past 30 years. The experience of the practice is evident when looking at the extensive portfolio of projects built in UK and abroad including Crossrail, Docklands Light Railway, and underground stations in London, Miami, Sofia, Beijing and Moscow as well as skyscrapers in Hong Kong and Urban farms in Delhi.

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Archology tower, Hong Kong – Concept ©WestonWilliamson+Partners

The practice sees every proposal as a challenge and an opportunity to transition new ideas into impactful projects. Above all, the founding partners value creativity and the exchange of ideas within the practice. This philosophy is being developed through ‘Fri-deas’, brainstorming sessions occurring once or twice a month on Fridays where all members of the practice are encouraged to present and share their ideas with the rest of the studio so that it can feed new projects. These ideas don’t have to be necessarily architecture-related and this helps everyone understand that a multi-disciplinary team bringing all sorts of innovative ideas together is what most benefits a project.

Aside from delivering stations, airports or residential buildings for their clients, WW+P also partners with local schools to highlight to students the opportunities in architecture and construction.  In parallel, they are also currently working on a school in Cambodia that they will design and build alongside the local community.

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WestonWilliamson’s imagining of future city, designed around transport ©WestonWilliamson+Partners

All of this work aligns with the values the practice encourages and extends to more conceptual proposals. The practice regularly launch ‘experimental’ projects or proposals, providing recommendations to improve urban situations. The concept of Transport Oriented Development was born following this idea, in order to propose new ways of thinking about designing and constructing sustainable cities. One example that illustrates this concept is the Green City project, a garden city focused around a high speed station that would have no CO2 emitting vehicles in the 2.5km diameter centre.

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Model of a car-free ‘garden city’, built around a central high’speed rail link ©WestonWilliamson+Partners

The project was entered into the World Festival of Architecture Awards 2016 in the Future Projects category. Another project designed by the practice that could follow the same path is the Hyperloop high-speed system connecting Melbourne to Brisbane in 90 minutes:

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Map view of the proposed hyperloop route ©WestonWilliamson+Partners

The development typology of Australia makes the Hyperloop the most efficient way of travelling. The large commercial urban centres with clear routes between are ideal for the Hyperloop system.

This will help Australia’s growth and allow new communities to flourish along the route. The numbers of travellers flying between these 5 cities is staggering so this Hyperloop will have a significant effect on Australia’s climate change targets as well as demonstrating an important lesson worldwide.

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Melbourne station concept terminal by night – rendering ©WestonWilliamson+Partners

Hyperloop routes are being planned in California and other parts of USA and in Europe, but WestonWilliamson’s proposals for Australia provide the most benefits in terms of economic boost and ecological benefits.

The Hyperloop is a conceptual high-speed transportation system proposed by entrepreneur Elon Musk, incorporating reduced-pressure tubes in which pressurised capsules ride on an air cushion driven by linear induction motors and air compressors.

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Hyperloop Station interior concept – rendering ©WestonWilliamson+Partners

Hyperloop technology has been explicitly open-sourced by Musk and SpaceX, and others have been encouraged to take the ideas and further develop them. To that end, several companies have been formed, and dozens of interdisciplinary student-led teams are working to advance the technology.

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Australian outback features the unobtrusive hyperloop – rendering ©WestonWilliamson+Partners

Designs for test tracks and capsules are currently being developed, with construction of a full-scale prototype 5-mile (8km) track scheduled to start in 2016. In addition, a subscale pod design competition on a very short, 1 mile (2km), test track is underway, with test runs expected later in 2016.

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Melbourne station concept terminal by day – rendering ©WestonWilliamson+Partners

Musk has likened the Hyperloop to a “cross between a Concorde and a railgun and an air hockey table”, while noting that it has no need for rails. He believes it could work either below or above ground.”

The technology means it is incredibly energy efficient and will substantially reduce air and noise pollution.

Transport accounts for 26% of global Co2 emissions. The Hyperloop concept will significantly reduce this. In order to entice the travelling population out of their cars and away from air travel the Hyperloop must be safe, efficient, value for money and reliable. “

 


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