Report the design of underground spaces

Report the design of underground spaces

Report the design of underground spaces

Patrick Zamariàn Originally a Beaux Arts amenity for patricians, subway systems have become a mass phenomenon. Underground stations constitute a pivotal extension of urban space, often undervalued not only by the general public but also by the architects themselves. Tadao Ando once identified working on underground space as the search for the origins of architecture as such, for it “enables us to design continuous space without any apparent form”. Still, only few architects are enticed into what is essentially considered an engineering task.

 

©Claes Westlin

Indeed, the prevalence of underground railway networks has created a rather paradoxical situation for architects. Such systems usually spawn massive urban development along their routes. In many cases, they were major catalysts for the transformation of small cities into congested metropolitan areas such as New York or, more recently, Hong Kong. Densely built-up inner city areas, however, complicate the planning of new stations in times when untenable traffic conditions and growing ecological awareness demand the expansion and upgrading of public transport.

 

©Cristián Barahona

However, the perceived benefits of uniform appearance in the manner of Otto Wagner’s Vienna Metropolitan Railway seem unattainable in today’s urban settings. Instead, greater emphasis is put on the design of the interiors. Clear passenger routes and generous, well illuminated spaces are among the main priorities. Floor coverings and tunnel linings require a careful selection of materials which are subject to precisely defined criteria. They must be fire-resistant, durable, break-resistant, easy to clean and replaceable. The following two projects illustrate two distinct approaches in the usage of Swisspearl panels for this particular design task.

 

Triangeln Railway Station, Malmö, Sweden

 

©Claes Westlin

In March 2005, the City of Malmö launched its ambitious City tunnel project to provide additional capacity and facilitate transport connections to adjacent regions in the north. Scheduled for completion in 2011, the project includes a total of 17 kilometers of electrified railway, a third of it subsurface. Apart from an underground extension to Malmö Central Station, two new intermediate stations will be built: Hyllie, at the southern exit of the tunnel, and most notably, Triangeln underground station in the city center.

 

©Claes Westlin

Malmö City tunnel serves to illustrate the extraordinary expenditure inherent in today’s large-scale infrastructure projects, whose complexity is reflected in countless separate and often challenging tasks. One such task was the planning and construction of the tunnel lining, entirely of white Swisspearl panels, at Triangeln railway station. In keeping with the name of the station, each panel shows a pattern of triangular perforations with chamfered edges that were cut at the plant in Switzerland using state of the art CNC machinery.

 

©Claes Westlin

The combination of curved tunnel walls and weighty large-size panels called for a high-standard technical solution. These difficulties were over – come by German façade engineers Nauth, who designed a framework system that incorporated Swisspearl Sigma undercut anchors for unobtrusive fixing of the 12 millimeter thick panels, as well as concealed sound-absorbing boards. To complete the overall wall design, artist Christian Partos envisioned nosy little “light-creatures” that hide in the tunnel when a train approaches and emerge when it leaves again. To accomplish this, a purpose built motion-sensitive lighting system uses LED rails fitted into the joints between some of the panels.

 

 

Metro Stations , Santiago de Chile, Chile

 

©Cristián Barahona

The station platform areas are marked by distinct signature walls displaying a mosaic of tone-on-tone Swisspearl strips whose visual impact was tested beforehand by means of life-size mock-ups. Site conditions proved logistically challenging as the parcels had to be lowered into the tunnels through a very confined void. The strips were then mounted on-site to a metal framework by the use of adhesive tape.

 

©Cristián Barahona

The color hue of each station was selected with regard to its respective context. Manquehe displays earth tones indicative of the nearby mountains; Magallanes is blue, reminiscent of the legendary navigator, while Los Dominicos reflects the green of the plaza and the white of the nearby historic buildings.

 

©Cristián Barahona

 

NICE TO KNOW

Object
Triangeln Station

 

Location
Triangeln, Malmö, Sweden

 

Client
City of Malmö

 

Architects
SWECO, Malmö; Lars Lindahl
 

Photos
Claes Westlin, Malmö

 

Building period
2005 – 2009

 

General contractor
NCC Construction Sweden AB

 

Façade construction
Nauth SL Fassadentechnik GmbH, Kapellen-Drusweiler (Germany)

 

Façade material
Swisspearl Carat Onyx 7090
 

PDF project sheet
Click here to download the project sheet

 
 

Object
Metro station Santiago de Chile

 

Location
Metro stations Plaza Los Dominicos, Hernando de Magallanes and Manquehue, Santiago de Chile

 

Client
Metro Chile

 

Architects
Burmeister Arquitectos Consultores S.A., Santiago de Chile; Enrique Burmeister, Cristián Castillo, Cristián Barahona, Alfredo Lizana
 

Photos
Cristián Barahona, Santiago de Chile

 

Building period
2006 – 2009

 

General contractor
Constructora Internacional Limitada, Constructora CYPCO S.A., Santiago de Chile

 

Façade construction
Comintecc, Vitacura/Santiago de Chile

 

Façade material
Swisspearl Carat Jade 7050, 7051, 7052, Amber 7083, Azurite 7043, 7040, 7041, Onyx 7091
 

PDF project sheet
Click here to download the project sheet

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