This global competition organised by UIC and the Watford Group and hosted by ProRail and NS awarded excellent architectural and design achievements in the railway field
The prestigious Brunel Awards ceremony, named after the famous British engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel, was organised by the Watford Group and UIC, the worldwide railway association bringing together 240 members on 5 continents, and hosted in the Netherlands by ProRail and NS together with Arcadis, Movares and Bureau Spoorbouwmeester. This unique international competition aims to award the excellent achievements of architects and designers in the railway field at global level. It was held on 15 October in Amsterdam, Zuiderkerk.
The prestigious Brunel Awards are awarded once every three years by the Watford Group and UIC (International Union of Railways). They are international incentive awards for excellent commissioning in railway architecture and design.
The award ceremony marks the start of the Watford Conference, an international forum for experts working in the railway sector as designers, managers or architects. This year, ProRail and NS are hosting the Watford Conference, partly to commemorate the 175th anniversary of the Dutch Railways and the 125th anniversary of Amsterdam Central Station.
Jean-Pierre Loubinoux, UIC Director General, said during this ceremony: “At the service of the mobility for citizens and societies UIC is pleased and proud to be one of the organisers of the 12th Brunel Awards. This is an occasion for our organization to pay a warm tribute to all the professionals in railway companies, architect and design offices, and the supply industry, whose talent, creativity and innovative approach serve the image and future successes of our transport mode.”
The 2014 Awards
The Brunel Awards were presented by Frits van Dongen, Chief Government Architect of the Netherlands, Chairman of the international jury, and Jean-Pierre Loubinoux, Director General of UIC.
92 entries from 14 countries were selected to apply to the Brunel Awards and were assessed by the international jury in mid-June.
In total, 31 awards and commendations were presented within four categories: 1) Stations, 2) Industrial design, graphical design and art, 3) Technical infrastructure and environment, 4) Rolling stock.
“The time that a station was merely a thoroughfare is definitely behind us. Stations are now a destination in and of themselves,” says government architect Frits van Dongen. In the “Stations” category, awards were presented to France, Japan, Hungary, Portugal and the Netherlands.
“Industrial design, graphical design and art” category
France and Japan received awards in this category. In French stations, temporary artwork is displayed or, for example, a piano is installed for travellers to play. “Refreshing and inspiring,” according to the jury. “Waiting becomes quality time.”
Japan received an award for a bus line that was set up after the tsunami destroyed the railway in 2011.
“Technical infrastructure and environment” category
Finnish, French, Japanese and Austrian railway companies received awards for the sustainable and intelligent construction of a new covered maintenance depot, a bridge and a railway viaduct.
“Rolling stock” category
Two Japanese railway companies got an award for the design of new trains, including a luxury “Cruise Train” that reminds one of the Orient Express. In Finland, a modern diner car with rotating chairs received an award.
Overall Jury Award
ProRail, NS and several municipalities were awarded the “Overall Brunel Jury Award” together for “the consistently high level of design quality in all aspects, ranging from large to small stations, station innovation and the way stations suit their environment. Nothing is standard. Even the smallest details have been carefully considered,” according to the jury. “This ‘Dutch Style’ is unique in the world in terms of its consistency.”
The English version of the jury report can be found at
All the pictures of the event are available here: