The cycle hub known as "the Jewellery Box"

SWIFT RAIL SERVICES were commissioned to undertake the conceptual design of a new Cycle Hub at Gravesend from feasibility to planning stage by Southeastern Rail. SWIFT RAIL SERVICES were then appointed directly by the design and build contractor to develop the design through to completion. SWIFT RAIL SERVICES acted as Principal Designer for these works. The design and construction of this project involved all aspects of the SWIFT RAIL SERVICES team including Surveys, Architectural, M&E, Civil, Structural and Drainage design. a cycle hub known as "the Jewellery Box"

The Gravesend Cycle Hub provides a package of measures developed in partnership with Association of Train Operating Companies (ATOC), Kent County Council, Gravesham Borough Council, Southeastern Railways and local charity Cyclopark Trust, to facilitate and encourage cycling as a preferred means of transport in the local area.

The funding delivered a cycle hub offering cycle maintenance, repair, sales and hire with Brompton Bikes and electric bike charging being available.  The facility has a secure covered compound with swipe fob entry system to enclose 180 cycle spaces.  A further 44 standard spaces are available for those who wish to park their cycles quickly to catch the train.

The facility is well lit with CCTV coverage.  Signage is displayed both sides of the station and on the highway, linking the station to the town centre and Cyclopark, a purpose built facility for cycling and other outdoor activities.

The original design of the building required both full planning permission and listed building permission. Due to the sensitive nature of the location planning required, a number of meetings were held with the planning officer and conservation architect from the local authority. This led to a sensitive design that is both modern and reflects on the adjacent existing buildings.

This is Flagship Cycle Hub, like no other in the UK. The appearance from outside is that of a jewellery box. The aspiration for the hub is to alter the cultural mode of travel in Gravesend to the station.

This new building incorporated the following design features:

  • To minimise the impact of this building it was partially set within an existing embankment.  Excavation works were overseen by an Archaeological Watching Brief (AWB).
  • The foundations included raft, strip and pad foundations.  A reinforced concrete retaining wall was used, the design of which had to be approved by both Network Rail and KCC highways.
  • The steel structure was finished in a Lead grey colour. Care had to be taken to ensure this was a clean sleek design which was required by both the client and the local authority.
  • The steel frame was clad with glazing to the perimeter of the Cycle Hub. As such tolerances were very tight and sub-contractors drawing required careful checking to ensure components would fit when installed.
  • The glazing has manifestation and large cycle logos as part of the overall design.
  • The roof consists of metal decking, plywood with a Falzinc covering to complete the clean visual effect required.
  • GRP flooring is using within the Cycle Hub to enable the lightweight steel frame.  Two tier racks and other furniture including lockers, fix it stand and air pump are fixed through the GRP floor and into the steel frame.
  • The tenancy area on the end elevation of the Cycle Hub consisted of a beam and block floor and a timber roof covered Sarnafil.  The internal walls are plastered and the floor screeded. An accessible WC has been provided with wall tiling and Altro flooring. Other internal surfaces are painted white ready to receive finish by tenant.
  • The front elevation of the tenancy area was constructed using a curtain walling system, this utilizes a Brise Soleil detail to help reduce solar gain and prevent the tenancy from overheating.
  • Within both the Cycle Hub and the tenancy area electrical containment, distribution boards, lighting, CCTV, CIS and emergency exit arrangements are installed. Careful design of these systems had to be carried out to ensure they were co-ordinated within the structure as all services are visible.
  • The lighting to the hub consists of both standard lighting and feature up-lighting to the perimeter. The standard lighting was installed in two rows to enhance the linear nature of the building. This is linked to controls to enable lighting to dim to 20% when the building is unused to provide both energy efficiency and a level of security. The perimeter up-lighting has been installed to light the glazing manifestation and provide a well-lit ceiling. This has produced an impressive “jewellery box” effect.
  • The foul and surface water drainage systems include both a sewerage treatment tank and a sustainable drainage system in the form of sub-surface plastic crates.
  • Externally to the structure, access steps and ramps were installed, including various different types of paving, weld mesh fencing, perimeter fencing, tarmac surfacing, lighting bollards, under croft lighting, wall lighting and CCTV. Each of these items had to be carefully considered to ensure they reflected the overall effect required.