Construction is underway on an ambitious new project by MAD Architects. It will involve the creation of a largely underground modern train station and the rebuilding of a historic train station building that will serve as a railway museum on the site, as well as re-landscaping public park space.
Train Station in the Forest is located in Jiaxing, southeast China, and covers a total area of 35.4 hectares (87 acres). It was commissioned when the former station reached maximum capacity and the surrounding area was deemed poorly planned. Rather than build a grand station that would take over the landscape, MAD had other ideas.
“China’s train stations are competing to be bigger than one another,” says the firm. “Standing tall in the city like grand palaces, they are surrounded by large main roads, imposing viaducts, and often empty plazas. Rather than this pursuit of grand, monumental architecture, is it possible for urban train stations to create their own beautiful environment, with comfortable scales, and a blend of transport and urban functions that are both efficient and humane? Is it possible for train stations to be more than a stopover for travelers, but an urban public space that people can enjoy?”
The project consists of the station and rail lines, a series of public plazas to the north and south, and the replanting of an adjacent forested park in collaboration with Z’scape Landscape Planning and Design. The station concourse, as well as platforms, a waiting hall, and commercial space, will be tucked away underground. Bus terminals, a tramway, and other transport links will be added and there’s a degree of sustainable design planned too, with solar panels being installed to reduce the project’s grid-based electricity usage and an overall focus on natural lighting. The renders also depict several greenery covered buildings.
The museum will be a faithful homage to the original Jiaxing Train Station, which was a transport link used in China’s First Party Congress of the ruling communist government in 1921 but was destroyed in 1937. MAD consulted with experts in heritage architecture, and studied old photographs in a bid to get as close as possible to its original appearance.
Though it doesn’t look that far along in the photographs provided, the project is expected to be completed in July, says MAD. Once completed, the station is expected to host 5.28 million passengers per year.
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