Beijing South Station
Beijing South Station, Beijing, CHINA Beijing South Station is a fully integrated multi-modal transportation hub that serves as a “Gateway` to the capital and a vital link in China’s new highspeed intercity network. A major urban building and masterplan, Beijing South Station is one of the largest contemporary railway stations in the world designed for a passenger turnover of 286,500 passengers a day, 105 million passengers annually by 2030. To accommodate these vast numbers a new model in railway station design was developed, integrating the multimodal transport interchange facility with a vertical separation strategy designed to make passenger traffic flows direct, convenient and highly efficient. Completed in 2008, Beijing South was a core Olympic project endorsed by the Beijing Government. Situated on a 31 hectare site, half a kilometre from the city’s old railway station in Fengtai District, the station sits between the second and third ring roads. A terminal for trains from the regional cities of Tianjin and Shanghai as well as being a local through station for suburban and metro trains, it will connect Beijing with the Yangtze River Delta, with a catchment area of 270 million people. Located on existing railway land, the geometry of the station juxtaposes the diagonal fan of the railway tracks to Beijing’s cardinal urban grid. The scheme creates an urban link with the surrounding cityscape and acts as a “Gateway` by inserting a landscaped pedestrian spine in the formal north-south axis, maximizing the sense of approach and enhancing public amenity spaces. The station creates a generous contribution to the public realm, significantly enhancing the civic character of the Beijing South Station area, acting as a catalyst for new development to the surrounding urban areas. Immense in scale, the use of simple, balanced and unifying forms provide an integral architectural solution to the complex functional and contextual requirements of the site. The station layout provides clear orientation from arrival to departure and takes into consideration the different operational and management of the various railway lines, waiting areas and interchange zones. A simple ellipse form, it accommodates three principle levels, with two mezzanine floors for car-parking and two ancillary gateway buildings. With such a high volume of travellers, it is essential to separate the arriving and departing passengers, therefore this multi-modal transport interchange uses a vertical separation strategy so that passenger flows are direct and efficient, with the objective of having passengers board and alight with the shortest distance and time possible. Beijing South Station has a total of 22 island railway platforms and two side platforms with 24 platform edges for high-speed trains, normal trains, suburban trains and two island platforms with four platform edges for the metro trains, with the longest island platforms at 550 metres long. A comprehensive transportation hub, the design strategy also incorporated separate areas for seamless transition to different types of vehicular pick-up and drop off zones; which includes extensive underground car-parking and public transport zones for taxis and buses. The station is designed to integrate with the Beijing metro system which will in-turn ease the pressure on road networks and provide an expanded, convenient transportation interchange. The elliptical plan form provides an effective and innovative solution to the station’s vehicular traffic flow, with the overhead road network adjusting to the traffic flows to and from the station and assists in relieving the congestion of the surrounding arterial roads. In order to create an innovative and dynamic landmark, a large iconic roof was incorporated into the station design. This enormous symmetrical roof is broken down into three parts: a large central roof and two side canopies which provides rhythm to the internal spaces. The central roof is an arch form while the side canopies are structurally supported by A-frames with a hanging draped roof acting as a catenary curve which is a reverse arch form. This is a modern interpretation of the up-turned hip roofs, a Chinese architectural motif whose inspiration comes from the Temple of Heaven, 3km east of the site. From an aerial view, the overall roof form is elliptical in plan with three hip roofs in profile, the central dome shaped roof is defined by a dramatic skylight centered along the main axis of the circulation route whilst the side canopies take a crescent plan that tapers to a wingtip. The canopy steel roof structure is a braced catenary system supported by raked steel A-frame column supports at two points with drapes made from 750mm deep steel I-beams. The A-frame column supports are located between the tracks to provide a column free zone at the platform level with a maximum span of 70m long with structural supports spaced on a 20.6m wide grid. The roof is an innovative lightweight structure with an inherent structurally sound rigid frame which requires tensile wire members to prevent up-lift created by wind loads, and is calculated to withstand local snow loads and sand storms. The canopy roofs are permeable for natural ventilation and to minimize operational costs whilst the central roof area is fully enclosed to accommodate the two waiting areas. The 350m long, 190m wide central roof is supported by a total of 60 raked columns arranged around the perimeter of the Departure Level and the centre spine which helps to define the spatial order. The largest column span within the central roof area is 70m wide - enough to accommodate a Boeing 747-400 aircraft. The central roof is composed of a 30,000 m2 skylight which creates an open and natural day-light filled environment, of which 70% is made of high solar performance low-e coated glass and 30% made of newly developed thin film amorphous photovoltaic cells laminated into insulated glass panels for generating part of the station’s electricity consumption. Beijing South Station is an important and enduring public building that enhances and informs the city fabric with a unifying contemporary form, an innovative architectural solution to the complex functional and contextual requirements of the site whilst acting as a catalyst for new development to surrounding urban areas.


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