Kaohsiung Station by Mecanoo
Location: Kaohsiung, Taiwan
The new Kaohsiung Station is the crowning achievement of the massive Kaohsiung Metropolitan Area Underground Railway Project, which includes seven subterranean stations along a 9.75 km railway tunnel. It will be a true transportation hub integrating train, metro, local and intercity bus services, taxis, and bicycles. As a key project for the city’s transformation, the above-ground station has been designed to add valuable public green space and activate the local community.
The most important events in Taiwanese villages take place on the main square in front of the temple, lit with traditional red lanterns. Kaohsiung Station’s central hall is a contemporary equivalent of this, a sunken plaza that unfolds underneath a bright ceiling of oval-shaped lights. Arriving from the underground platforms, the immersive space will create a memorable experience for travelers.
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. 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 center.
The sprawling green canopy protects the open public plaza underneath from Kaohsiung’s tropical climate like large trees would do. Here people can meet, enjoy a refreshing breeze, or visit events that take place at the station, like a farmers’ market, second-hand market, traditional open-air opera, or a mobile library.
Designed as a destination rather than merely an efficient mobility hub, the station’s canopy connects a hotel, commercial building, shops, restaurants, and other facilities for the local community and travelers. The colonial Japanese station building, which will be relocated to its original site, is embraced by the canopy and symbolically reconnects the old and new Kaohsiung.