Transportation architecture is expected to facilitate circulation. Yet, it is an oversight to assume that these critical infrastructures are simply buildings where people come and go; crucially, they must also be designed as places to stay. Whether it’s a few hours waiting in an airport, or 5 minutes running through a railway station to catch the next train, passengers spend time in spaces connected to transportation. When designed well, transportation architecture can positively contribute to the overall experience of a traveler’s trip, sometimes becoming touristic destinations themselves.
Striking the right balance between facilitating travel and designing a destination is never straightforward. How can transportation spaces find the sweet spot between their primary function of facilitating this travel needs, while, at the same time, offering a comfortable or unforgettable spatial experience? The following collection of A+Award winning designs exemplify the perfect equilibrium between circulation and destination.
The refurbishment and extension of the Pennsylvania Station complex bring light to the commuters with four iconic glass vaults that are reminiscent of the original Penn Station (completed in 1910, destroyed in 1963).
The new extension adapts the historical James A. Farley Post Office building. Uncovering the roof, three massive steel trusses are exposed and become a focal point of the design. Connected by these three trusses are four glass-and-steel vaults. Each vault used over 500 glass and steel panels to create an airy ambience. To better support the vault structures, the panels closer to the edges are thicker and vice versa.
Cradle Mountain Visitor Centre is the first move in a major plan of enhancing Cradle Mountain’s touristic experience. Approaching the building, visitors will first see folded façade, which is inspired by the glacier-carved geology of the site. The façade comprises dotted screens through which the light can go through, illuminating the building during the night. Walking into the building, the timber interior finishing feels rather warm and soft than the stone-grey façade while creates a connection to nature in this built environment.
Rather than an enormous volume lying on the land, this conceptual design of the airport in the Russian city Gelenndzhik proposed a series of pavilions that interweave with the landscape on the site. Supported by thin, white columns, the structures look airy like clouds floating among the trees. The pavilions are enclosed by floor-to-ceiling glass curtains with nearly no mullions visible, allowing immersive views of the natural environment of this resort town.
Located at the port of Volos, Cubes Aleorion Lighthouse Project is a modern interpretation of the known oldest lighthouse, Aleorion of Xerxes, built 480 BC. The original Aleorion of Xerxes was made of hand-shaped dolomite boulders found at its site. Stones are stacked one on top of each other to functions as a shallow water warning to crew members. Drawing on this typological precedent, the shape of the Aleorion Lighthouse is informed by stacking concrete cubes. Concrete cubes of different sizes form a 47 foot (14.25 meter) tall tower. While assuring utility spaces, the vertical structures also provide viewing points to enjoy the waterfront scenery from different angles.
Limassol Cruise Terminal is a port building for both large cruise and container ships. The seven elliptical volumes are simplistic enough to stand out from the busy port environment while not being alienating on the flat landscape. Four volumes at the two ends act as the main departure and arrival halls.
The west-east facing openings on these four volumes invite sunlight onto the reflective floor, creating sky-colored tunnels that respond to time. As a transportation center, the terminal not only connects the island of Cyprus to the wider world outside of the island, but as a public space for gathering, it also connects the city of Limassol internally. When the port is not in operation seasons, the halls are transformed into event spaces that accommodate weddings, conferences and other activities.
J & A conceived of the 13 stations on Chengdu Metro Line 18 as a series of artworks. Each station is unique, but all of them follow the same futuristic aesthetics. Line 18 connects the city center of Chengdu with the Tianfu International Airport, circulating the massive number of passengers who travel across the city, in addition to travellers coming to and from the airport.
Inside Station 18, large columns with smooth surface grow into the large-span ceilings. This has the effect of making the stations’ interiors visually appear more spacious — even during peak hours. Artificial lighting is part of the ceiling fabrication, providing sufficient brightness while maintaining a neat overall looking of the spaces.