Grimshaw - The Elizabeth line, an east-west tube railway in London
  1. Home
  2. Award 2023
  3. Transport
  4. The Elizabeth line, an east-west tube railway in London

The Elizabeth line, an east-west tube railway in London


Transport  /  Completed

An east-west tube railway in London was proposed in 1919 and 1943, while an attempt to get Parliamentary approval for the project failed in the 1990s. A new scheme was presented in 2005 and was finally passed in 2008.

Officially opened in 2022, after 12 years in design, construction and delivery, the line is now part of the London Underground network, running 100km east to west across the city through 42km of new tunnels.

The design strategy encompasses platforms, passenger tunnels, escalators, and station concourses, including details such as signage, furniture, fittings, finishes and technology. From seamless curved cladding, to the technology of the wayfinding totems, applying this line-wide design approach creates a consistent journey from above ground to below.

The stations along the line have been thoughtfully designed to harmonise with their surroundings, taking inspiration from London's diverse architectural heritage. In terms of the line-wide design, the approach focussed on creating a positive user experience for all passengers using high-quality, self-finished materials, a generous spatial strategy, and integrated lighting. The stations incorporate step-free access and clear wayfinding, ensuring comfort and convenience for commuters of all abilities. The line is a catalyst for urban regeneration, creating vibrant hubs that attract commercial, residential, and cultural development. This enhances local areas, providing opportunities for social and economic growth.

The Elizabeth line design demonstrates a commitment to long-term sustainability and efficiency in the use of resources, energy, and cost. The design prioritises high-quality materials and construction techniques, ensuring the durability and longevity of the infrastructure.

This minimises the need for frequent repairs and maintenance, reducing life-cycle costs. Infrastructure projects have a shorter life than other lower-complexity structures, but the team designed components such that they didn’t affect adjacent components and could be replaced easily without compromising the rest of the system. This is evidenced in the totems in the pedestrian concourses: they are easily repaired as stand-alone products unhindered by service panels or located at height.

The design and construction of the line was a success borne from rigorous teamwork. With a consortium of Grimshaw, Atkins, Equation and Maynard in charge of the line-wide architectural components, collaboration with the six architectural practices designing the new stations through central London was paramount to the project’s success. In the pursuit of a strong conceptual framework to guide each station architect’s application of the line-wide language, the teams met through several workshops. Though debate and discussion, a consensus was reached that the individual stations would respond with their own architecture to their context, while descending to the platform tunnels the manifestation of the line-wide identity would strengthen by using a family of cladding, lighting, signage, furniture, and platform edge screens. Overseen by Grimshaw, each station architect applied the consortium’s line-wide design to their underground station environments. The result is recognisable, iconic platform and tunnel design across the line, but as passengers traverse from platform to street (or vice versa) a gradual but distinct confluence of each of the six architect’s aesthetic approaches and the line-wide identity emerges. Each station is simultaneously unique, and part of a well-defined identifiable whole.

Elizabeth line Director Howard Smith: "The Elizabeth line continues to be transformational for people travelling across London and the South East. The huge numbers of customers using our accessible trains and stations is a real testament…"


 Regno Unito
 Crossrail Ltd
 0 mq
  8,428,440.53.00 €
 Atkins, Equation and Maynard
 N/A - main contractor per station
 Glass Reinforced Concrete cladding: GRCUK, Lindner Sorba / Concrete Valley. Signage: AJ Wells, Merson, Wood & Wood. Lighting: DAL, Future Designs, Designplan. Flooring: DMC Contracts. Furniture: Marshalls, Steeline, CMF.
 Hufton + Crow


Grimshaw was founded by Sir Nicholas Grimshaw in 1980. The practice became a Partnership in 2007 and operates worldwide with offices in Los Angeles, New York, London, Paris, Dubai, Melbourne, Sydney and Auckland employing over 650 staff.

Grimshaw’s international portfolio covers all major sectors, and has been honoured with over 200 international design awards for its commitment to design excellence.

The company’s work is characterised by strong conceptual legibility, innovation and a rigorous approach to detailing, all underpinned by the principles of humane, enduring and sustainable design.

The practice is dedicated to the deepest level of involvement in the design of its buildings in order to deliver projects which meet the highest possible standards of excellence.

Grimshaw was awarded the 2016 and 2018 AJ100 International Practice of the Year Award for the firm's breadth of work around the globe.


#Finalist #Regno Unito  #Londra  #Vetro  #Infrastruttura  #Rivestimento in calcestruzzo  #Rivestimento in vetro  #Pannelli in cemento rinforzato  #Rivestimento in pannelli di GRC  #Acciaio inossidabile  #GFRC  #GFRC façade  #Grimshaw 

© Maggioli SpA • THE PLAN • Via del Pratello 8 • 40122 Bologna, Italy • T +39 051 227634 • P. IVA 02066400405 • ISSN 2499-6602 • E-ISSN 2385-2054