The Dutch architecture firm Mecanoo is known to pull out all the stops to ensure that its projects fit the needs of the surrounding environment. The front page of its official website clearly states the firm’s mission to “combine architecture, interior design, urbanism and landscape to create unforgettable spaces.”
Mecanoo has brought this integrative approach to its plan for Kaohsiung Train Station in Taiwan. The huge transportation hub, slated for completion in 2024, will combine train, metro and bus terminals under an elevated urban park, meeting the city’s transportation needs while providing ample space for public use.
“The station’s large curvilinear shaped canopy reaches out to the city in a powerful gesture, acting as a green connector that unifies different modes of transport, and represents Kaohsiung’s vision for the future as a sustainable city,” said Mecanoo in a statement.
“With a cycling path running east west on top, the station’s multi-layered landscape introduces a generous amount of public space into the city centre. Designed as a destination rather than merely an efficient mobility hub, the station offer[s] a myriad of facilities for the local community and travelers.”
When visitors enter the main concourse, they will find themselves under a vast canopy comprised of distinctive light fixtures. As this space will serve as the main gateway to Kaohsiung for visitors, Mecanoo was careful to ensure that it spoke to the city’s values.
“The most important events in Taiwanese villages take place on the main square in front of the temple, lit with traditional red lanterns,” explains Francine Houben, creative director of Mecanoo. “The central hall has been designed as a contemporary equivalent of this, creating a memorable experience for travelers.”
The site as it currently stands. The original train station, right, is preserved in the new scheme.
The green canopy reaches out in four directions, drawing together various parts of the city. Another connection this structure makes is between Kaohsiung’s past and its future: The original train station — a colonial-era Japanese building — will be preserved in the new urban park.
All images courtesy of Mecanoo