lyrical islands in pragmatic seas: Nanjing Gaochun Su-Wan Interchange Hub Stage One
Gaochun town is soon to be connected to Nanjing megacity by both light rail and freeway. A reduced 50-minute travel time will catalyse business development and population growth. The new rail station is located in the town’s planned new commercial centre, within its northern growth district. It is to be combined with a new intercity bus station and local bus interchange. A tourist exhibition centre is included at the interchange in anticipation of growing visitor numbers to this attractive lakes district and Citta Slow region.
a knot of space-time
This building sits on, over, and under one of the many intersections of four urban movement systems in Goachun: the train, the bus, private vehicles, and pedestrian networks. It does not just sit adjacent to these systems – it is not a siding. And it does not just sit at the end of line or route – it is not a terminus. It is both a tying together and a keeping apart of the four different systems – it is an elaborate space-time knot that keeps objects and events apart – thus avoiding collisions between trains, buses, cars and pedestrians.
The below ground car-parking space provides pedestrians access to and from their arriving or departing cars.
The ground floor is an intense co-existence of pedestrian movements to and from arriving and departing buses, private cars, and taxis. Also present at this level are pedestrians moving to and from the train platforms at the second floor – in fact everything but the trains themselves are present at this highly contested level.
The second floor is for pedestrians to gain access to the train platforms and the arriving and departing trains.
Rather than resist the complex pragmatics of the movement demands at ground floor level, BAU embraced them, perceiving the site as two seas of pragmatics: a sea of bitumen (for buses and cars); and a sea of paving (for pedestrians). Both seas are continuous and both seas have islands of buildings, parking, and vegetation. These two clearly articulated on ground circulation systems are not only legible and safe; they are also visually very powerful when viewed from the adjacent buildings on and off the site.
infrastructure and kinetics
The architecture explores the iconography and poetics of infrastructure and movement. The bus station is a habitable and stable (but not static) piece of infrastructure – a bridge that spans the sea of bitumen.
In contrast, the train station is large-scale op-art piece. This building straddles the rail line becoming an island in-between the sea of paving and the sea of bitumen. The various pragmatic elements of the program are spread along the rail line. This assemblage of smaller elements is wrapped with a single large-scale gesture, a series of dynamic blades of varying lengths, which at speed will create a kinetic veil. These blades are cut to provide entries and exits and will also protect the interior of the building from the heat gain of low altitude east and west sun.