Posts Tagged ‘trains’

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Wonder Wednesday

December 19, 2018

The old, short lived, and long removed Disney Fort Wilderness Railroad!

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Architecture Monday

September 25, 2017

Some eye candy tonight of a very nice adaptive reuse from Montreal!  This one’s filled with delicious contrasts and intersections:  rugged brickwork with slick and smooth walls, deep tones with vibrant colours, old materials kissing new ones, deep windows with flush lighting, and some great shadow play.  As a bonus, this is an old railway station….

Lightspeed Offices by ACDF Architecture

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Architecture Monday

April 24, 2017

Not trains tonight, but a Metro station in Paris, and one that marvelously connects neighbourhoods, not only via the subway but by an expressive bridge that both crosses and provides access to the Saint-Denis canal.  Oh, and it’s by my darlings, BIG Architects…

There’s a rather straightforwardness to the basic idea.  You’ve got a subway and you want to bring light down to the platform so you extrude up a large glass-topped atrium.  Now, like a giant paperclip, wrap a path around that atrium to touch both the distant and nearby shores.  And just like that, you’ve got a sensual form that invites and provides an easy and fun path to the station and to the water’s edges.  The bridge is meant to be more than just easy conveyance – following the city’s long history of bridges as social spaces, the bridge is extra wide and incorporates seating into its sculptural structure.

From there, the bridge spirals downward to create the sunlit atrium, with a cascade of escalators taking travelers down towards the Metro tracks.

There’s a certain simplicity of idea happening here that I like.  It’s very straightforward, a form derived directly from circulation and the ideas of connecting the adjacent boroughs.  That same straightforwardness is nonetheless delivered in a very playful and expressive manner, one that enhances the public space around the canal and very much the Metro station below.  Even if you don’t stop here, riding the Metro into the station will be an experience as you emerge from the tunnel into the luminous hall.  It’s not just infrastructure that has been reduced to its most brutal form; it’s infrastructure that honours the public space we all inhabit.  It takes a need and fulfills it in splendid ways.

The Pont De Bondy Metro Station by BIG Architects.

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Architecture Monday

March 13, 2017

Let’s journey to King’s Cross station tonight, to visit the new West Concourse.  Fantastically combining adaptive reuse of the existing historic buildings with expressive structural elegance, it creates a great new expanse of space that welcomes travelers to London.

This was one complex project, touching a total of five existing buildings to improve flow and access to a bevy of train lines, underground railways, a hotel, and more.  For me the big delights are the fact that, despite this massive undertaking, they sought to preserve as much of the existing fabric as possible, and using that as a starting-off point for some great moments and spaces.

Inside the existing buildings, there is a wonderful dialogue between the old and the new, between the contemporary modifications and the historic backdrop.  It is not necessary to copy or mirror the past in order for a building to fit in with its neighbors (or, in this case, fit inside).  There are numerous ways to make the two be in dialogue and, even better, enhance each other in a way that a pastiche repetition would not.  Steel and glass and sleek lighting plays very well with the old brick, highlighting and beautifying the rich texture of the beefy masonry.

The new entry hall takes a different, but equally fruitful, path, with a radiant forest of columns and beams that form a dome over the entire hall (and that also delicately nestles in against the existing curved face of the Great Northern Hotel).  Tall, soaring, and seeming to float overhead, the roof highlights the restored facade of the Western Range building and leaving plenty of room for the necessities of a very busy train station.

The existing platforms were also similarly restored and upgraded, so that travelers today can marvel at the energetic structures that long have been a staple in grand stations.

Overall, lovely work.  And, as a bonus… at the end of the grand new concourse, a new, semi-secret platform was added, known to all those who have read the Harry Potter books:

King’s Cross Station by John McAlsan + Partners

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Architecture Monday

December 19, 2016

I love train travel. I love adaptive reuse. A project that combines them both? Double love!

The need and desire: to make many unmanned and otherwise unremarkable train stops in the Netherlands both safer and more pleasant spots from which to catch a train. Without, as is common, breaking the bank. The design put forward: use that other ubiquitous transportation device, the leftover shipping container, to create something visually striking and with tightly integrated amenities.

The result: Combine the shipping containers like a series of toy blocks into a straightforward and recognizable form that is striking even from a distance. The containers at the ground level are mostly deconstructed down to structure to house the amenities. Painted white, they contrast strongly with the other, solid, containers painted black. Finished by white lettering, they all go together to make the whole station look sleek and proper.

A waiting room and flower & coffee shop sit nicely within glassed-in areas at opposite ends of the station. The use of frameless glass makes them look almost the same as the centre box, which is left open for the ticket vending machine. Besides being a marker of place – and a clock tower – the tall container is also perhaps one of the most striking bathroom experiences ever. Inside, the room extends up some 40’ to a skylight!

Great little project that takes some otherwise leftover bits and, with some strong design, turns them into a totally legit train station where you can sit protected, grab a coffee, and hopefully not daydream on that toilet, getting so lost in the clouds overhead that you miss your train.

Barneveld Noord by NL Architects

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Architecture Monday

November 30, 2015

I have always liked the humble yet enticing Ottawa Train Station. Simple in concept, it evokes the lofty expanses of the train stations of old while in no way copying their form. A very deep space truss system is held aloft by beefy columns, enclosed by much glazing that brings light deep within. A circular and somewhat sculptural ramp at the far end provides access to the rather mundane platforms outside. And that’s it. The space within is otherwise left open.

What has been placed in that space is, unfortunately, rather uninspired and underwhelming, and the aforementioned platforms are also rather pedestrian. However, the simple gesture and language of the structure itself still speaks volumes, and provides a nice point of arrival and departure to those who are willing to take it in.