Architecture

Foster + Partners train stations take the sting out of Saudi Arabian heat

The four stations that make up the Haramain High-Speed Rail system are eventually expected to service up to 135 million passengers per year
The four stations that make up the Haramain High-Speed Rail system are eventually expected to service up to 135 million passengers per year
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The Haramain High-Speed Rail system features a modular design
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The Haramain High-Speed Rail system features a modular design
The Haramain High-Speed Rail system features dappled natural light inside
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The Haramain High-Speed Rail system features dappled natural light inside
The Haramain High-Speed Rail system took 10 years to realize
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The Haramain High-Speed Rail system took 10 years to realize
The Haramain High-Speed Rail system hosts trains that run at a speed of 300 km/h (186 mph)
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The Haramain High-Speed Rail system hosts trains that run at a speed of 300 km/h (186 mph)
The Haramain High-Speed Rail project makes use of misting systems and fans to to keep the interior a relatively comfortable 28˚ C (82.4 ˚F)
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The Haramain High-Speed Rail project makes use of misting systems and fans to to keep the interior a relatively comfortable 28˚ C (82.4 ˚F)
The Haramain High-Speed Rail system is shaded and relatively cool
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The Haramain High-Speed Rail system is shaded and relatively cool
The Haramain High-Speed Rail system features a modular design
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The Haramain High-Speed Rail system features a modular design
The four stations that make up the Haramain High-Speed Rail system are eventually expected to service up to 135 million passengers per year
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The four stations that make up the Haramain High-Speed Rail system are eventually expected to service up to 135 million passengers per year
The Haramain High-Speed Rail system features a modular design
9/16
The Haramain High-Speed Rail system features a modular design
The Haramain High-Speed Rail system features dappled natural light inside
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The Haramain High-Speed Rail system features dappled natural light inside
The Haramain High-Speed Rail system took 10 years to realize
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The Haramain High-Speed Rail system took 10 years to realize
The Haramain High-Speed Rail system hosts trains that run at a speed of 300 km/h (186 mph)
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The Haramain High-Speed Rail system hosts trains that run at a speed of 300 km/h (186 mph)
The Haramain High-Speed Rail project makes use of misting systems and fans to to keep the interior a relatively comfortable 28˚ C (82.4 ˚F)
13/16
The Haramain High-Speed Rail project makes use of misting systems and fans to to keep the interior a relatively comfortable 28˚ C (82.4 ˚F)
The Haramain High-Speed Rail system is shaded and relatively cool
14/16
The Haramain High-Speed Rail system is shaded and relatively cool
The Haramain High-Speed Rail system features a modular design
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The Haramain High-Speed Rail system features a modular design
The four stations that make up the Haramain High-Speed Rail system are eventually expected to service up to 135 million passengers per year
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The four stations that make up the Haramain High-Speed Rail system are eventually expected to service up to 135 million passengers per year

A full decade after first being appointed to handle the project, high-profile British firm Foster + Partners has finally completed work on a network of train stations in Saudi Arabia. Providing high-speed links between four cities, they are designed to keep visitors at a relatively comfortable temperature even during the scorching summer heat.

The 450 km (279 mile)-long Haramain High-Speed Rail system links Makkah, Madinah, Jeddah and KAEC (King Abdullah Economic City). The station building designs are inspired by the architectural traditions of the region, says the firm, and offer a shaded retreat, with very small openings allowing some light inside.

The Haramain High-Speed Rail system features dappled natural light inside
The Haramain High-Speed Rail system features dappled natural light inside

"Sustainability is an important theme that runs through the project," explains Foster + Partners. "The station buildings are designed based on principles of felt temperature reduction – from outside the station to the platform, the ambient temperatures get progressively lower without the need for mechanical cooling throughout. Inside the station, the temperature is maintained at 28˚C [82.4˚F] and the platforms have large fans and misting devices that help keep the area cool. Mashrabiyas enveloping the glazed facades also help reduce the interior temperatures, while allowing glimpses out of the station."

Though 28˚C may still sound rather hot to some, the region recorded temperatures of 55˚C (131˚F) last week.

The Haramain High-Speed Rail system hosts trains that run at a speed of 300 km/h (186 mph)
The Haramain High-Speed Rail system hosts trains that run at a speed of 300 km/h (186 mph)

The four stations in the Haramain High-Speed Rail system were constructed using a modular system, ensuring elements could be shared between them, simplifying and speeding up construction. Additionally, they are designed so that they can be expanded if demand increases in the future.

The stations are expected to serve around 60 million passengers per year at first, rising to up to 135 million passengers per year, with trains using the rail system reaching a maximum speed of 300 km/h (186 mph).

Source: Foster + Partners

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