Landmarks: Chiswick Park Tube Station

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The Independent Culture
My chosen building is Chiswick Park Tube, one of the famous set of Thirties underground stations designed by Charles Holden. It was rebuilt from the old station in 1933 using a mixture of materials, incorporating the traditional and the very modern. Brick was used because tube trains were famous for staining their buildings with brown dust which came off the brakes.

Internally it has a generous ticket hall, lit by tall, glazed screens around a semicircle. The glazing is made out of simple square sections and each square is divided horizontally into three panels which gives it a very nice tracery feel. These screens face south and collect east, south and west sun, warming up the ticket hall on those cold but sunny mornings in the autumn. It is unfortunate that the hall has been changed. The old ceiling remains but it doesn't have all those marvellous details that Holden used to design.

What is so nice about the building is that when it's truly winter and it's dark, damp and dingy, it gives off this wonderful glow at night. The windows are made from the cheap bottled glass you find in bathroom windows but it's on a scale that is quite unique - it literally looks like a Hallowe'en pumpkin.

It is completely oversized for what is not a main-line station and one of the reasons for this was to create an advert. They didn't need a tower but they put one in so it could be seen a long way off. On the Chiswick High Road at night it looks very inviting. It's something you use every day and like your old worn-out shoes it becomes a favourite.

James Burland is an architect with Arup Associates, London, W1P

(Photograph omitted)

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