Western Station is one of four Iconic Stations of the new Riyadh Metro. The design proposal, for this remarkable 110,000 sqm, aims to be a catalyst for urban renewal, demonstrating a design reflective of local culture and heritage with a landmark quality.
The new urban “crossroad”, will host an above ground Metro Station, Bus Station, underground Park & Ride facility, a Market, Mosque and vast public plaza. This “Western Place” unfolds into a complex hierarchical landscape that alternates a series of open spaces with more intimate ones, through the skilled combination of natural and artificial elements.
The plaza, envisaged as a new and major urban polis external to the downtown area, is a re-vitalizing force that will re-connect existing neighbourhoods, provide for transportation and services, and boost economic development for the surrounding area and for the City at large.
With references to the Kingdom’s dominant desert landscapes, oasis and palm groves, the building design concept is a modern interpretation of the desert sand drifts, where a cluster of dune shaped, earth coloured structures emerge from the site creating opportunities for station entries, light penetration and pedestrian shading.
The site is located in the Dhahrat Al Badi’ah quarter, southwest of downtown Riyadh, a predominantly 2-story residential neighbourhood, on the south side of Al Madinah Al Munawarah Street, a main artery road. The area currently houses a vegetable market and large parking lot at grade level. Similarly, to the south, along Sheikh Mohammed Ibn Abdul-Latif Street, commercial properties line the eastern side of the street. The new Metro/Bus Station/Market development will trigger further commercial development along its entire stretch and within the immediate neighbourhood.
The Metro/Bus Station, centrally located at the sites northern edge along Al Madinah Street, is an entry to an “urban village”, with a series of well-characterized squares and passages. This system of open spaces invite people to wander through on their way to the public transportation lines, to the Market, or to adjacent destinations. Most of all, it is an occasion to simply join in on the vibrant public life under an iconic canopy, a sculpture with a 50 m cantilever that underlines the main access to the station.
The site slopes seven metres up from the eastern to the western corner along Al Madinah Street. The Metro and Bus Station, market, Mosque and the main urban plaza are all set on the same grade level. On the east side, a large urban plaza extends outwards from the open-air market and a combination of yellow stone, concrete and palms, define an ablution feature near the mosque.
Positioned between the market area and Western Station, the Wadi Corridor appears as an open-air pedestrian pathway moving in the north-east/south-west direction. Wadi Corridor, however, acts also as a stationing area, a place of social interchange; public seating areas, arranged among trees, find shade under a tensile structure with integrated photovoltaic panels.