HS2 Design for Place Winner 2022
Running parallel to the Misbourne Valley in the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the appearance of the 450m High Speed Rail Viaduct at Wendover Dean has been carefully developed with respect to views of the structure in the wider context and the pre-eminence of existing landscape characteristics and topography. The design is conceptually simple – an apparently slender and comparatively bright line set against a backdrop of fields and supported at regular intervals, making use of colour and shade to visually suppress the depth of the structure.
Following the classic principles of simple, evenly spaced vertical piers combined with predominantly below deck structure, the Viaduct is arranged as a carefully composed relationship of span depth and support spacing that balances the silhouette of the structure against a near symmetrical ground profile. In cross section, the deck design has been developed to privilege the outermost edge of the structure – the parapets – by providing a slender cantilever from the central spine while presenting a bluff face to the main girders, throwing the majority of the deck structure into shadow and visually emphasising the relatively thin leading edge of the deck.
This deliberate interplay of light and dark is further emphasised through the distinctive pier form and the contrasting use of high-quality concrete for the parapet and dark weathering steel for the girders. Viaduct abutments have been conceived as 'sockets' in the landscaped earthworks - dramatically reducing their visual impact and simplifying the expression of the structure.