Foster + Partners has completed 4 fundamental stations for the 450-kilometre high-speed rail between the principal Saudi Arabian towns of Makkah, Madinah, Jeddah and King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC).
Called Haramain High-speed rail, the stations welcomed its first passengers for the holy festival of Eid for the primary time. The four stations along the route – conceived as gateways to each city – are stimulated with the aid of the ancient architectural traditions of the region and offer a shaded retreat from the solar whilst growing a new infrastructural spine for sustainable delivery in Saudi Arabia.
Based at the flexibility method that may be reconfigured according to the increasing capacity of the stations, Foster & Partners followed a modular method for the roof and the interior to provide a thermal consolation as well. The design factors carried out are common to all stations along the route.
The metallic columns and arches shape freestanding structural trees which are repeated on a square grid and join to shape a flexible vaulted roof, inspired by means of the colonnades discovered in many traditional buildings in the region. The vaults in each station are of a different colour, responding to the identification of the distinctive cities.
“We are thrilled that the Haramain High-velocity rail link is operating successfully, bringing pilgrims to the holy cities of Makkah and Madinah. The designs of the new stations recognition on passenger comfort, while building on the feel of exhilaration and wonder that is inextricably connected to the idea of travel,” stated Luke Fox, Head of Studio, Foster & Partners.
The stations are designed to serve as much as 20,000 passengers according to hour at their peak. Therefore, the association of areas follows the path of travel, and facilitates passengers navigate the stations intuitively, with few degree adjustments and the indoors areas offer respite from the warmth of the desert.
The vaulted roof and walls include small openings that draw beams of sunlight hours down to the concourse stage, carefully controlling the extreme glare from the solar and creating a calm, atmospheric and well-lit environment. Spherical chandeliers, suspended between the arches, offer targeted lighting, mediating between the size of the roof and concourse level and accentuating the rhythm of the structure.