“Is it possible for a train station to be more than a stopover for travellers, but an urban public space that people can enjoy?” MAD Architects has answered its own question with the Jiaxing Train Station, an inspired demonstration of how infrastructure can be a force for commercial development and community reinvigoration.
The 35.4-hectare project encompasses the redesign of the historic station itself — which had reached its maximum capacity — as well as new subterranean commerce courts, plazas to the north and south, and a renovation of the adjacent People’s Park. Altogether, MAD’s scheme connects bus terminals, a tramway, metro, car parking and taxi stands in a cohesive, future-oriented yet history respecting whole.
The architects rebuilt the historic station — after conferring with scholars, consultants and heritage experts — while also creating a light-filled transportation hub below it. As people move between the waiting hall and the platforms via a futuristic underground tunnel, they observe the replica station building overhead, a striking moment where old meets new.
By tucking the main transportation and commercial functions underground, the firm let nature take precedence at the street level. Beginning with a tree canopy–shaded plaza, a sprawling green urban centre transforms the development into a “train station in the forest.” To the south of the station, landscaped public lawns enclose a new above-ground commercial area; they are meant to host a variety of events, festivals, concerts or markets.
Through careful transportation planning and emphasizing the verticality of space, the scheme accommodates existing passenger demands while also allowing for future sustainable development and expansion. And by making the train station more than a stand-alone piece of infrastructure — envisioning it instead as at one with its surroundings — MAD has rejuvenated the old city centre with a new vitality.
Team Ma Yansong, Qun Dang and Yosuke Hayano with Tiffany Dalhen, Yao Ran, Yu Lin, Cao Chen, Chen Nianhai, Cheng Xiangju, Reinier Simons, Fu Xiaoyi, Chen Wei, He Shunpeng, Li Zhengdong, Cao Xi, Zhang Kai, Li Xinyun, Kaushik Raghuraman, Deng Wei, Huang Zhiyu, Huai Wei, Sun Mingze, Dayie Wu, Hou Jinghui, Yin Jianfeng, Claudia Hertrich, Liu Zifan, Xie Qilin, Alan Rodríguez Carrillo and Qiang Siyang
MAD’s scheme connects bus terminals, a tramway, metro, car parking and taxi stands in a future-oriented yet history respecting whole.