Norwich Bus Station

A landmark building, giving an appropriate first impression of the city.  With six million passengers per year, the new bus station is part of the regeneration of the city of Norwich.  The design incorporates a freestanding steel canopy, with aluminium panels and translucent fabric in tension.  Glass enclosures protect passengers from the weather.  Whilst presenting a modern image, the bus station fits well within the historic city and also removes 1,200 buses per day from street bus stops.


Norfolk County Council
Norwich, Norfolk
Construction cost £5.3m
July 2005
Structural engineering: Richard Jackson plc
Principal contractors: Bluestone plc
Highways design: Mott MacDonald

Full description

The new bus station is an integral part of a larger regeneration and transportation strategy, including a hotel, offices, and housing.  The bus station is the catalyst for the development of a socially and commercially important but run down area of the city centre.  It enhances the experience of visitors to the city and the businesses that operate there.

Design Qualities

The form derives wholly from function, providing a large covered area for people, supported by tubular columns.  The focal point is the Travel Centre, providing space for comfortable waiting, travel information, and refreshment.  The scale is dictated by allowing clearance for double deck buses.  The materials reflect those found within the surrounding area — local red brick, large areas of glazing, and metal cladding.

A freestanding canopy of steel, aluminium and fabric covers the public concourse, the travel centre, and the passenger islands that provide access to the buses.  At a lower level, rain and wind protection is also provided by glass enclosures to ensure the passengers are kept comfortable and safe.

The canopy is supported by as few columns as possible, with large clear and cantilever spans.  The overall form of the canopy reflects the shape of the travel centre plan. The aluminium-clad canopy is in two sections linked by a fabric tent.  This promotes good natural ventilation, and allows diffused daylight to flood the concourse.  A central lantern with fabric cover emphasizes the entrance to the travel centre.  As you approach the bus station, the overall affect of the canopy is that of a ‘leaf’ suspended in mid air.  From above, the canopy has a very modern image but is appropriate for the conservation area of this historic city.

The design of the bus station has achieved the following sustainable social, economic and environmental objectives


  • Support growth and economic development
  • Encourage public adoption of environmentally sustainable public transport, cycling, and walking
  • Provide an infrastructure for travel including bus stations and 'park & ride' facilities to give public transport an advantage over private cars in terms of travel time, quality, and convenience
  • Reduce the need to travel by integrating land use and transport policies in the city centre.

The project won the SCALA Civic Building of the Year Award 2006, the RICS Regional Award for Community Benefit, and the Environment Award at the Eastern Daily Press Business Awards 2006.