While the US waits (and waits) for trains to gain steam as efficient, viable modes of transport, plans are in place for a massive new rail network connecting Beijing and Hong Kong, where the West Kowloon Terminus (WKT) will welcome travelers—or send them on their way—in light, bright, ultra-modern style. Amtrak it ain’t.
Aedas designed the 430,000-square-meter station, which looks far more like an intergalactic depot and shuttle hub than terrestrial travel headquarters. WKT will support both regional commuter transit as well as high-speed long-hauls, and in a unique shift, immigration and customs domains for both arrivals and departures will be situated on-site, stacked one floor above the other. Below, all of the converging 15 tracks will be subterranean, making WKT the largest below-ground station in the world when completed in 2015. After emerging from a journey, however, the expansive, largely glass-clad indoor spaces convey an immediate sense that you’ve reached a true destination: sweeping sky-high, 45-meter-tall ceilings are topped off with a green roof that frames an amphitheater-shaped pedestrian area and observation deck, along 400,000-square-feet of as-yet-to-be-sold commercial space. The only thing it needs now is a Sbarro, amirite?