The Glow of History: Sorba’s Role in Woolwich Metro Station

London’s Woolwich tube station, part of the Elizabeth Line, bears Sorba’s stamp in every detail. Located in the historic Woolwich Arsenal, the station honours the area’s military past. Sorba, as a pioneer in high-quality facade and object cladding, has applied a diverse range of materials and components to pay homage to the rich history of Woolwich Arsenal.

The Military Past: Dead Men’s Penny

A direct reference to military heritage is the Memorial Plaque, known as the Dead Men’s Penny. This bronze commemorative coin, once minted at Woolwich Arsenal, is honoured in the facade of the tube station. Perforated panels and screen-printing on glass bring the coin’s image to life, making history palpable.

Architect: Weston Williamson

Contractor: Balfour Beatty Construction Services UK

Client: Crossrail

Cast bronze spectacle at the Entrance

The most striking element at the entrance to Woolwich Station is the cast bronze gate. Created in collaboration with Pentair Nijhuis, these panels mirror the bronze of the Dead Men’s Penny. The stunning glossy effect after assembly transforms over time through weathering into a characteristic green patina, a natural process for bronze.

Ticket Hall: Sorba’s Domain

Behind the bronze gate you enter the ticket hall, where Sorba’s signature is visible everywhere. White enamelled glass panels line the walls, while Sorba is also responsible for the black entrance gates and the manufacture of roof lights. A total concept where craftsmanship meets functionality.

On the Platform: Acoustics and Elegance

Different sheet materials on the platform contribute to the acoustics. Black grid panels above glass entrance doors dampen sound, and some panels are designed to facilitate maintenance. Suspended discs with perforated sheet material and insulation further improve acoustics, with an aesthetic accent provided by a built-in lamp in the centre.

Render Woolwich London | Sorba ProjectsWoolwich London | Sorba Projects

Patinated Brass: Warmth in Structure

Special round brass column cladding was developed for the 25 concrete columns on the platform. Working with Capisco Ltd, the brass takes on a patinated, warm brown hue. This natural ageing process gives the concrete structure a unique look.

Sorba: Surface Creators

Sorba’s contribution to Woolwich tube station goes beyond cladding; it is a tribute to the history of Woolwich Arsenal. Every detail, from the Dead Men’s Penny to the cast bronze gate and the use of various materials, exudes Sorba’s expertise and dedication. The Woolwich tube station is not only a feat of engineering, but also a monument that embraces time and history. Sorba, a name synonymous with perfection, has once again delivered a timeless iconic masterpiece.


On this project, Sorba Projects used a variety of materials, managing the diversity of materials, systems and size of the work requires excellent project organisation:

  • Insulating glass
  • Laminated safety glass
  • (Perforated) aluminium exterior cladding with powder coated finish
  • Cast bronze cladding, finish patinated
  • Bronze column cladding
  • Aluminium anodised gratings.

Surface area of materials used

  • Approx. 94 m² curtain walling
  • Approx. 180 m² of interior glass cladding
  • Approx. 490 m² of glass roof cladding
  • Approx. 285 m² of custom-made perforated external cladding
  • Approx. 810 m² of standard perforated external facade cladding
  • approx. 205 m² of cast bronze cladding, approx. 760 m² of perforated cladding in the ticket hall area and at ground level
  • Approx. 145 m² of 3D deformed perforated ceiling cladding
  • Approx. 260 m² bronze column cladding
  • approx. 2,075 m² of PES screen cladding
  • Approx. 1,345 m² diffusers and 102 acoustic
  • Circular ceiling elements.

Gert-Jan Nietsch

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