MAD Architects has just unveiled its design for the “Train Station in the Forest.” Under construction and scheduled for completion by July 1st, 2021, the project is located in the center of Jiaxing, in southeast China, in close proximity to Shanghai, Hangzhou, and Suzhou. Covering an area of 35.4 hectares, the intervention consists of rebuilding the historic station while creating a new infrastructural annex underground. It also includes the creation of plazas to the north and south and the rehabilitation of the adjacent People’s Park.
Led by Ma Yansong, MAD Architects drew inspiration from the city’s historic and cultural contexts. Efficient, human-scaled, and abundant with natural light, the new station will generate a comfortable environment. While the main transportation and commercial functions are to be located in the basement level, the ground-floor space will be given back to nature, freed from any infrastructure, creating thus a “train station in the forest”, and allowing “the People’s Park to radiate through the scheme into the city, and form an urban oasis”. In fact, the project seeks to put in place a “borderless park” where citizens and travelers can dwell and enjoy the beautiful natural environment, bringing the city center back to the people.
China’s train stations are competing to be bigger than one another. Standing tall in the city like grand palaces, they are surrounded by large main roads, imposing viaducts, and often empty plazas. Rather than this pursuit of grand, monumental architecture, is it possible for urban train stations to create their own beautiful environment, with comfortable scales, and a blend of transport and urban functions that are both efficient and humane? Is it possible for train stations to be more than a stopover for travelers, but an urban public space that people can enjoy? -- Ma Yansong
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In order to rebuild the original historic station, MAD worked closely with experts in heritage architecture, for a more accurate reconstruction of the historic station and its features. Upon completion, the old station building will become the Jiaxing Railway History Museum. On another hand, the new additions, the station concourse, platforms, and waiting hall are hidden underground, “while the building’s single-story height above ground level humbly respects the scale of the old station building”. Bus terminals, a tramway, metro, car parking, and taxi stands are interconnected by the proposed scheme, creating an efficient transportation portfolio accessed from the train station, and fulfilling the demand for transport facilities created by the new commercial zone.
Centered on the human scale, the subterranean space is open and bright. “As people move from the waiting hall to the platforms via a futuristic underground tunnel, they observe the rebuilt old station building overhead”. Moreover, the scheme places the station’s commercial functions underground, while sunken courtyards connect this commercial space with the parkland above.
Jiaxing Train Station
- Typology: Transportation Infrastructure
- Site Area: 354,000 sqm
- Building Area: around 280,000 sqm
- Principal Partners in Charge: Ma Yansong, Dang Qun, Yosuke Hayano
- Associate Partners in Charge: Liu Huiying
- Design Team: Cao Chen, Reinier Simons, Yao Ran, Fu Xiaoyi, Yu Lin, Chen Wei, He Shunpeng, Cheng Xiangju, Kaushik Raghuraman, Chen Nianhai, Deng Wei, Cao Xi, Sun Mingze, Huang Zhiyu, Zhang Kai, Li Zhengdong, Dayie Wu, Huai Wei, Claudia Hertrich, Liu Zifan, Xie Qilin, Alan Rodríguez Carrillo, Qiang Siyang, Hou Jinghui, Li Xinyun, Yin Jianfeng, Mathias Juul Frost, Lei Lei, Lu Zihao
- Client: Jiaxing Modernservice Industry Development & Investment (Group) Co., Ltd.
- Executive Architects: Tongji Architectural Design (Group) Co., Ltd., China Railway Siyuan Survey and Design Group Co., Ltd.
- Structural Consultant: LERA Consulting Structural Engineers
- Façade Consultant: RFR Shanghai
- Landscape Consultant: Z’scape Landscape Planning and Design
- Lighting Consultant: Beijing Sign Lighting Industry Group
- Signage Consultant: NDC CHINA, Inc.
- Heritage Consultant: Shanghai Shuishi Architectural Design & Planning Corp.,Ltd
- Interior Design Consultant: Shanghai Xian Dai Architectural Decoration & Landscape Design Research Institute Co., Ltd.