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Clay from the earth? Stoke-on-Trent City Bus Station by Grimshaw.

The city of Stoke-on-Trent's new bus station, designed by Grimshaw, will open officially next week. The result of a competition win in 2010, it promises to become a landmark for the city.

The building is conceived as a microcosm of the very landscape in which it is located seeking to perpetuate the idea of a common identity.

The building canopy undulates and might be read as an interpretation of the rolling hills in the landscape beyond. The actual height of the canopy at a given location responding to entrances and the like, as a kind of hierarchical marker for what is important in the comings and goings in the daily function of the station.

The canopy is supported on “V” shaped steel columns with a soffit clad in timber. Elsewhere, perimeter walls use a local blue brick laid with various patterns analogous to geological formations of rock, particularly the coal that once powered the kilns that helped to make the area famous, and prosperous. The limestone paving in the station, another reference to local geology, recalls the clay that was once used to make the pottery.

In this way, the building taps into and reinforces a notion of what constitutes local identity.


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