Site constrictions dictated that the Toytown DLR should be placed over the JLE, with British Rail on parallel tracks to the JLE at ground level. Parallel to the railways is the bus station, which also acts as the entrance to the whole affair. Passengers come in from the street and either walk along to the bus station or descend to the subway that leads to the railway ticket hall by stairs, escalators or lift. An underground concourse links the ticket hall with escalators and lifts serving the platforms above. The ticket hall and the concourse are toplit from rooflights made of large glass sheets hung from cast stainless-steel brackets which extend from central spine beams. So dramatic views are offered up through the roof of the ticket hall to the sky through the DLR viaduct overhead - another instance of Paoletti's insistence that light should be brought down into lowest levels.
The DLR is supported on Y-shaped precast concrete struts on the JLE platform. They prop a deck made of post-tensioned elements. This glued segmental construction allowed the structure to be assembled without the need for large cranes, which would have become tangled up with the overhead power lines. All the various platforms are visually related by canopies and roofs: a family of aerofoils. Glass and aluminium finishes throughout further unite a very diverse complex.
* The City Airport is the innermost of London's five. It offers short journeys to the Continent.
Architect John McAslan & Partners (formerly Troughton McAslan)
Quantity surveyor EC Harris
Photographs Dennis Gilbert/VIEW