Text description provided by the architects. In 1933, the first modern steel reinforced concrete station in Taiwan – the Chia-yi Railway Station – was completed. There was no station square at that time. With the development of transport and the increasing needs of transit, a square gradually took shape after 1950, becoming the starting point of the space for the small town. Over the past 50 years, the square underwent several times of adjustments; inside of the square gets congested by various types of vehicles, becoming chaotic and lacking a sense of modern city.
In 2016, the city government planned a comprehensive reform. We tried to create a human–vehicle balanced space crossing inside and outside of the square, making the railway station square a spacious and dynamic daily scene that belongs to the moment.
There are four types of vehicles – motorcycle, car, taxi, and bus – that converge on the square, which all have diverse scale and different fluidity. By re-organising the flow of traffic elements, a road system is configured, which occupies the minimum space, operates smoothly and therefore forms a new order. And the pedestrian area is extended at the same time.
Along the pedestrian flow, there are curved sheds set up at the three waiting areas in accordance with the shape of the routes, functioning as shelters for sunlight and rain. By the expressions of scale, shape, weight, and structure, a new spatial experience of staying, waiting, and walking is created.
The waiting shed is like a cloud that floats low and close to the ground. It becomes a slender horizontal line at a distance, where the historical station building is able to re-enter the focus of people’s attention, attracting a spotlight for the square. The sunlight creates curved light and shadows under the shed, encouraging a rhythm of walking, moving, and stopping for pedestrians. Whether standing or sitting, through this open structure, people re-experience the city.