In an era of revived interest in downtown and car-less transit, Arriyadh Metro Western Station is much more than a place to board a train. Omrania & Associates’s goal was to design an intermodal transit hub that appeals to non-transit users. This new iconic nexus links buses and the city’s light rail system, it is home to a vegetables market place, and it embodies the culture of the city and create real-estate value at the same time.
The design concept of the station building is a modern interpretation of the “desert sand dunes”, where a cluster of dune shaped, earth colored structures emerges from the site creating opportunities for station entries, light penetrations and pedestrian shading. The general orientation of the dunes is related to pedestrian approach and urban vantage points.
An area that was once an open air vegetables market now has a sense of arrival and event that is spurring development for blocks. The new station will take that one step further in the design of its outdoor gardens, which celebrates entertainment and light rail simultaneously. Skateboarders and garden visitors will enjoy their activities as elevated trains pull in and take off over the gardens, effectively becoming almost like a “performance”.
Visitors will experience hustle and bustle broken up into a series of high quality spaces. Iconic spaces will draw the tourist as much as the commuter. Use by non-transit riders is what adds that extra level of vibrancy to the open transit principles of design.
Combining a state-of-the-art transit station with complementary mixed-used development and year-round public space, the station will create a new emblem of civic identity and community pride in its mix of uses. Ultimately it will create the first of a new generation of facilities to truly integrate transit and culture. It will draw commuters, tourists, shoppers, and casual observers.
Arriyadh Metro Western Station under construction, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Summer 2021. Photos © Saudi Projects