Flowing green canopy hides Taiwanese transport hub

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The canopy will introduce a huge swathe of green public space aimed at activating the local community and providing an exciting first impression to visitors

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A new train station in the Taiwanese city of Kaohsiung will be the centerpiece of a larger transport hub that will boast a huge swathe of new public space and knit together the local area. Kaohsiung Station will cover an area of 8.5 ha (21 ac) and boast a 35,000-sq m (376,700-sq ft) green canopy.

The station has been designed by Netherlands-based architecture studio Mecanoo, which describes it as a key project in the transformation of Kaohsiung. It is said to be "the crowning achievement of the massive Kaohsiung Metropolitan Area Underground Railway Project," which will see the construction of an underground section between Zuoying and Fengshan and seven underground stations along the 9.75-km (8.14-mi) stretch of tunnel.

To accommodate the development, the existing colonial Japanese station building will be relocated back to its original site, and, according to Mecanoo, will subsequently be embraced by the newly-constructed canopy. The canopy itself will introduce a huge swathe of green public space aimed at activating the local community and providing an exciting first impression to visitors.

The structure will take the form of a sprawling, organic-like shape with curved lines. It will span multiple levels and link together a 22,000-sq m (236,800-sq ft) hotel, 52,000-sq m (559,700-sq ft) commercial building, shops, restaurants and other facilities. In addition, a new cycle path will run across the top of the canopy between east and west. The shape and unifying functionality of the development is reminiscent of Henning Larsen Architects' Vinge Train Station.

Inside, the station there will be a brightly lit 13,000-sq m (139,900-sq ft) sunken plaza that will receive passengers from the underground and metro lines. The hub will also include access to local and intercity bus services, taxis and bikes.

Work on the Kaohsiung Metropolitan Area Underground Railway Project began in 2014. Kaohsiung Station is expected to be complete in 2024.

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