The Twentieth Century Society

100 Buildings 100 Years

2005: Vauxhall Bus Station

Architect: Arup Associates
Location: Vauxhall Cross, London

When I became MP in 1989, Vauxhall Cross was an anonymous windswept wasteland between the railway and the river.

Magically, from between the cranes and the concrete mixers, this amazing, stylish construction, Arup’s Vauxhall Bus Station, arose. A gleaming elevated ribbon of stainless steel, the canopy undulates above the buses to soar away into two enormous cantilevers, quickly nicknamed ‘the Ski Jump’, and now a famous identifying landmark for Vauxhall.

The elegant form follows the hugely successful function, where at ground level the bus platform allows passengers to change safely and quickly under cover. This is civic space at its best, valued and used by everyone, whether office cleaners taking night buses to the city, revellers returning from the club scene, or local resident Lords taking a bus to Westminster.

Lambeth Council, so pleased to welcome its construction a decade ago, now wish, against howls of protest, to demolish it and replace it with a row of shops.

by Kate Hoey