The historical city of Rabat is a myriad of different walled zones, each with their own unique cultural identity. Signalling a new era of prosperity, the multi-nodal city is transforming into a modern metropolis. The development of a new Rabat Agdal train station brings a new cohesion to the urban fabric, creating a central icon that symbolizes the dynamic transformation of the city. Positioned at the intersection of a series of important routes, the station will become the "gateway" of Rabat.
By creating an elevated passageway that connects multiple access points, the structure of the project acts as a hinge, allowing residents and visitors to cross from one part of the city to another. Instead of an obstacle, the station provides an element of continuity. The structure hangs over the train tracks in a unique network of "braided buildings", combining space for transport, recreation, culture and work. The passenger hall is located on the main axis of movement through the station. This configuration creates a strategic crossing point and an inviting meeting place to share a moment with friends at the café, go to the movies, or to shop. The programme distribution creates a spatial hierarchy between public and private functions. Activities that have a more public dynamic, such as shopping, cultural facilities and hotels, are directly connected to the station with maximum visibility from the perspective of passengers and pedestrians. Housing accommodations are located at the north side so as to merge with the existing residential developments, creating a sense of community among the inhabitants.
By concentrating the area for travellers, public programme and pedestrian connections in the elevated canopy, the ground level can be used to improve the existing public space, creating a new landscaped public sphere with sports fields, markets, public places and gardens. To guide users, the public space reflects the activities higher up. The two main squares mark the entrance to the station while the open-air market and leisure areas emphasize commercial spaces above. Private gardens in the residential area give access to housing. The landscape becomes a mediator between the public and the private, the frame and the train station, the static and the dynamic, in short, between the city and its mobility.
The project’s prowess in sustainability and innovation come from the installation of solar panels on the roof, and the role of landscaping to create passive climate solutions. The open structure of the suspended station is naturally cooled by the air currents flowing through the site, minimising the need for mechanical cooling.
Rabat Agdal train station is the central branch and starting point for connecting and gradually developing the other programmatic axes. The programme unfolds in plan by branching out, adding layers and levels within its volume. The strength of the project lies in its overlapping and complementary activities. The integration of transport with the development of commercial, cultural and community life creates a new fabric, a city within a city. Rabat Agdal train station acts as the capital’s new urban hub, symbolizing the evolution of the city from a historic centre into a multimodal metropolis.