In Toronto, we have the Beaux-Arts styled Union Station: a major inner-city transportation facility, deemed a Canadian National Historic Site since 1975. While this structure has many alluring architectural features, one may feel as if Toronto needs more flare in comparison to Zaha Hadid’s Metro Station, which is to be built in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
Since 1990, Saudi Arabia’s capital city has doubled in population size, reaching an overwhelming 5-million people. Due to the significance of this increase, city officials believe city congestion to now be a major concern — a reason as to why a design competition was held to determine the developer of Riyadh’s new metro station, set for completion by 2017.
Zaha Hadid, a London-based architect most famous for Britain’s Olympics Aquatic Centre, amazed judges with her visionary ideas, securing her rank as the competition’s winner. Hadid’s trendy designs integrate a 20,434 square meter, four-storey modernist building into the heart of King Abdullah’s Financial District, as a way to alleviate commuter congestion. Zaha Hadid’s metro station will feature six train platforms, two underground parking levels, and a cluster of pathways, bridges, and metro-lines.
Upon completion, the city infrastructure will serve as a central interchange hub for lines One, Four, and Six of the Riyadh Metro, as well as a connecting platform for the local monorail via the skybridge. A network of pedestrian walks will run throughout the building — all of which have been optimized and routed to avoid circulation interference.
In terms of aesthetics, the metro station’s walls and roof billow in symbolism of the country’s natural rolling landscape. Additionally, the structure incorporates a latticed façade that permits natural light to permeate the interior, without glare or high-intensity.
Prince Khaled bin Bander, the newly appointed govern of Riyadh, has reported that the city’s public transport plans are on schedule and that councillors and residents alike are excited for the new metro station, which will introduce a much needed change to their current public transportation network.
Images Courtesy of Zaha Hadid Architects, 2013.