Architecture practice von Gerkan, Marg and Partners Architects (gmp) has celebrated the completion of a stunning new transportation project in China - Tianjin West Railway Station. The 179,000 sq m scheme was won in a competition in 2007 by Meinhard von Gerkan, Stephan Schütz and Stephan Rewolle, with structural engineers schlaich bergermann und partner.
Comprising twenty-four platforms and a breathtakingly cavernous concourse, the design team states that ‘this technically and structurally sustainable railway station illustrates a contemporary interpretation of the cathedrals of traffic from the heydays of railway travel’. A 400m barrel vault roof arches over a lengthy internal concourse, its steel elements exposed and woven together in a latticework effect.
This diamond-shaped steel and glass roof permits weak shafts of sunlight to filter into the internal space whilst the lower - more transparent - portions of the facade are almost transparent, allowing large volumes of natural light to illuminate the interior. The slightly less transparent upper section provides some protection from direct solar radiation.
Tianjin West Railway Station is the new intersection for the high-speed line between Beijing and Shanghai also serving as a stopping point for a variety of regional lines and the underground network. Escalators and lifts provide ease of movement and the 57m high roof system offers clear sightlines for simple orientation.