Taiyuan South Station | Front Buildings
International design competition 2nd prize
Since 2010, the capital city of Shanxi Province owns with its new ‘South (High-speed) Railway Station’ the second biggest traffic hub of Northern China. Two vast open spaces are facing the city on both sides of the station, showing every visitor at one glance the very first and memorable image of this booming city. How to link these spaces to the strong urban structure equally planned by RhineScheme? What is a suitable architectural attitude to frame the station?
Foremost aim of this architectural and landscape proposal has been to create an architectural landmark that solves all functional aspects and serves the citizens, strong enough to be an adequate counterpart to the monstrous station building.
A whole string of hybrid buildings is lined up in front of the station, offering a very urban mix of uses and a (semi-)public interior atmosphere along a sequence of functions. Pedestrians can walk through the cluster and pass by shopping-malls and retailers, restaurants, cafés and tea houses, service and cultural facilities, exhibition and show rooms, hotel lobbies and such of business apartments and offices. A system of pedestrian paths is crossing and interconnecting the buildings and the main plaza, making it a permeable connection from the city to the station, equipped with open green spaces for the public and for the users of the buildings.
The overall idea is to form a ‘window to the city’, by the buildings’ architectural shape, by their function and in their façade design. A building volume forming the elements ‘frame and window’ is floating above a two-storey podium with a variety of uses for the public. The ‘windows’ – more or less transparent – will enhance the visibility and interaction between plaza activities and interior universe of each building. Moreover, these ‘windows’ can be used as multimedia screens serving for information, entertainment, and public events. They will indicate significant locations for public urban activities and welcome guests and visitors.
The railway station itself is focus and starting point of future development, with its plazas facing the south-western and north-eastern urban areas as linkage and connection. Both plazas serve as entrance to the city and functional hub for several traffic systems, but with different characters.
The squares will be vitalized by an attractive use of the encompassing buildings, and by their sophisticated landscape. Around the (Western) Main Square a sequence of smaller plazas and landscape features will be implemented to interact with various traffic elements, like subway access, bus terminal, taxi stand, car parking, ‘kiss & ride’, etc. The entity of squares is serving as forum and platform for numerous urban functions and activities, emphasizing the stay qualities along with the function as traffic hub.
The linear structures of the plazas are anchoring the Railway Station as their central element. A water axis is the connecting element between the two plazas. As ‘slow lane’ with rather calm character it is contrasting the ‘fast lane’ for traffic affairs. Tree groves serve as spatial structure and frame setting to create proportionate and human-scale spaces. Finally, a sequence of green spots and pocket parks are implemented as rest areas during the day, supported by an adequate lighting concept at night.