The future Kaohsiung Station in Taiwan is one of the largest rail infrastructures to be constructed in the world. It is not only a massive project but will also become an iconic structure giving the city an identity. It will help unify the urban landscape of Taiwan’s southern metropolis with a string of new parks, public spaces and green lanes for bicycles.

Kaohsiung, Taiwan‘s second largest city with 2.7 million inhabitants, is impatiently waiting for the completion of its new rail station. The massive structure is indeed the crowning achievement of the Kaohsiung Metropolitan Area Underground Railway Project. It includes seven stations along a 9.75 km railway tunnel. The station itself represents a 182,000 sq m area covering an extension of 8.5 hectares in the city centre.

With its opening in 2023, the station will become Kaohsiung‘s true transportation hub, integrating train, metro, local and intercity bus services, taxi and bicycle. It will be frequented by 12 to 15 million people per year.

Architectural icon and green space together

The station will also become a destination in its own right for both locals and travellers. The station’s large canopy reaches out to the city, acting as a green connector unifying the urban density of Kaohsiung, which remained until now divided in its centre by the rail infrastructure.

The spectacular architecture with the green vegetalised canopy on the surface and spectacular light effects inside will potentially turn the station into a new heart for the metropolis and a true urban icon.

As a key project for the city’s transformation, the aboveground station has been designed to add valuable public green space and activate the local community. Kaohsiung Station’s central hall, with its brightly lit patterned ceiling will become a public stage for the city. Events such as a farmers’ market, opera performances, concerts or second-hand fair will turn the space into an attractive destination on its own.

The new heart of Kaohsiung will comprise a mall, a hotel and a public plaza under the shade of large trees. The spectacular architecture with the green vegetalised canopy, the surrounding green spaces will also show Kaohsiung’s commitment to becoming a sustainable city.

Kaohsiung future rail station
The grand entrance of the future Kaohsiung rail station will add to the city’s appeal for travellers (Photo: Mecanoo)

Historical rail infrastructure to be preserved along the bicycle lane

The old Kaohsiung Station, built in 1941 during the Japanese colonial period, will set up the link between the past and the present. The station, designed like a typical Tang Dynasty temple, has been moved a few meters away from its original location to be part of the public plaza.

One of the most attractive features of the new Kaohsiung station is a cycling path running east-west on top along multi-layered landscapes. Kaohsiung Railway’s underground Green Park Road is almost fully completed, More lanes are being added and will provide a 15-km long shady lane to criss-cross town.

The lane will connect the towns outer districts, helping them become also part of a tour of discovery for travellers. Historical rail stations are restored along the way, former roads constructed by the Japanese occupation government are also preserved as part of Taiwan’s living history. Many themed squares are built along the line.

With the new Green Park bicycle path linking together Fengshan district to Zuoying district, new tourism products are likely to be set by the city authorities. The new station and the Green Park Road will help establish new discovery trails which will add to Kaohsiung’s appeal for travellers, and help achieve the city’s goal of transforming the Kaohsiung administration’s into an “excellent and friendly international tourist city.”

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