even more subway architecture even more subway architecture
mar 29, 2010

even more subway architecture

our previous article on subway architecture got a huge response and prompted us to begin researching even more metro systems from all around the world. in this second instalment, we cover a few stations that didn’t make the cut the first time, but are architecturally significant nonetheless. these stations showcase a wide variety of design styles from contemporary above ground stations in vancouver to steam punk style underground designs in paris.

image via flickr

washington DC

this stateside metro system is the second-largest in the country after new york city and has a total of 86 stations. many of these stations were designed by chicago architect harry weese who studied under alvar aalto. weese’s designs for the metro stations in washington epitomize the brutalist style of architecture, making use of large exposed concrete forms and repetitive design elements. this is most obvious in the vaulted ceilings that are repeated in many of the stations. the underground tunnel is covered in curved concrete blocks with a central recess in each to create a repetitive pattern.

image via flickr

image via flickr

image via flickr

image via flickr

image via flickr

montreal

although it was inspired by the paris metro, montreal’s underground metro expanded on the past through unique station designs and site specific art installations. the metro system is canada’s longest counting 68 stations on four lines. unlike other cities who appoint one architect to design all their stations, montreal wanted more variation and held a competition to select a different architect for each one. the result is a diverse series of designs that represent numerous architectural styles and visions. in addition to the architecture, montreal also focused on public art projects within the metro. throughout the system there are sculptures, stained glass works and murals by quebec artists.

image via flickr

image via flickr

image via flickr

image via flickr

image via flickr

porto

the city of porto is located in the north of portugal and has a 68 stations light rail metro system that opened in 2002. this new transportation system was built in one undertaking consisting of 5 lines that are mainly above ground or elevated. porto’s metro stations were almost all designed by portuguese architects eduardo souto de moura and alvaro siza. the structures are quite contemporary and make use of glass, steel and concrete. glazed tiles are also imported into many of the stations in a mix of muted tones. while the design language is carried across the whole system, each station has its own unique design features. for example, campo 24 de agosto station incorporates a 16th century fountain found during construction, directly into the station design.

image via flickr

image via flickr

image via flickr

image renzo piano building workshop

genoa

the coastal italian town genoa has its own metro system, consisting of seven stations on one line that serve the city’s population of over 600,000. the system opened in 1990 and has been slowly extended since then. five of the stations on the line were designed by world renowned architect renzo piano. because of engineering and topographic constraints, each station designed by piano has a unique footprint, but certain elements were repeated to create an overall identity. platforms, entryways and signage are among the repeated elements. the architect’s design utilizes perforated curved steel beams and glass to create airy and light filled spaces.

image renzo piano building workshop

image renzo piano building workshop

image via flickr paris

while the paris metro is among the world’s most well known, visiting all 300 stations on the system’s 16 lines is a steep challenge. while most stations are curved spaces with tiled walls, others break the mould with more unusual architecture, like the arts and metiers station. serving the musee des arts et metiers above ground, this station was originally opened in 1904 and redesigned in 1994 by belgian comic artist francois schuiten. schuiten’s design uses the science fiction works of jules verne as a starting point, using a design language known affectionately as steam punk. the station features riveted walls that have porthole windows and large gears overhead  that recall the inner workings of a factory. the design utilizes copper all over giving it a warm orange glow. 

image via flickr

image via flickr

image busby perkins + will

vancouver

rather than a central metro servicing its small downtown, vancouver has an elevated light rail network called skytrain which has served the city since 1985. this 47 station system connects the central core of the city to the nearby suburban areas. its elevated platform design differentiates it from metro systems in other cities, as does its award winning brentwood station design by busby perkins + will. this station incorporates a sleek and curvilinear enclosure made from wood, metal and glass that make it an area landmark. the station also incorporates a pedestrian bridge for crossing the highway below. the glass sides and skylight in the station protects riders from the weather and allows light to filter into the station during the day, while giving it an ambient glow at night.

image busby perkins + will

image busby perkins + will

image via flickr

lisbon

lisbon’s gare do oriente is the second portuguese entry on the list, boasting a multi-functional design by spanish architect santiago calatrava. more than just a metro station, gare do oriente is also a railway station, bus terminal and shopping center. the station opened in 1998 and has quickly become one of the busiest stations in the world. the building’s design has many of calatrava’s signature elements such as an arched skeleton-like roof structure covered in glass and sweeping curves such as the awnings over the building’s main entrances. large corridors of concrete connect the various elements of the station, which also feature severe curving forms.

image via flickr

image via flickr

image via flickr

image via flickr

  • Great job designboom! The first installment was epic and this one picks up where it left off.
    You always find the most unique projects.

    design maverick says:
  • also look at Brussel! do your research well!

    I Love Belgium says:
  • I am big fan of the Washington DC underground, although Lisbon’s Calatrava station is a great interchange.
    http://worldmanabouttown.wordpress.com/

    World Man About Town says:
  • Lovely, lovely, lovely. Thanks for the beautiful views.
    I am forever in love with the Paris Metro but I am so
    thrilled by the simple elegance and timelessness of the
    D.C. Metro system.
    A stunningly beautiful system.

    Thanks again.

    rcvs says:
  • hmm I think kyoto station and kanazawa station are amazing as well… but I guess they’re not known very well..
    please do look them up if ur interested

    daich says:
  • i do love the subways. DC Metro is lovely (Union Station – has its perks too) if only making it slightly difficult to wayfind – given the uniform station architecture.
    Philadelphia may not have the most beautiful subway stations, but they do have some new station furniture worthy of design praise:
    http://littlefascinations.blogspot.com/2009/12/8th-street-urban-seating.html

    k:ra says:
  • nice train stations !

    japanese train station is really horrible design(including korea)

    but i like japanese high speed train

    SEOULISH says:
  • Thanks for sharing. Interesting to see the contrasts of the various interiors, from the sterile to the visually interesting d;-)

    Jetwax says:

have something to add? share your thoughts in our comments section below.

comments policy
LOG IN
designboom's comment policy guidelines
generally speaking, if we publish something, it's because we're genuinely interested in the subject. we hope you'll share this interest and if you know even more about it, please share! our goal in the discussion threads is to have good conversation and we prefer constructive opinions. we and our readers have fun with entertaining ones. designboom welcomes alerts about typos, incorrect names, and the like.
the correction is at the discretion of the post editor and may not happen immediately.

what if you disagree with what we or another commenter has to say?
let's hear it! but please understand that offensive, inappropriate, or just plain annoying comments may be deleted or shortened.

- please do not make racist, sexist, anti-semitic, homophobic or otherwise offensive comments.
- please don't personally insult the writers or your fellow commenters.
- please avoid using offensive words, replacing a few letters with asterisks is not a valid workaround.
- please don't include your website or e-mail address in your comments for the purpose of self-promotion.
- please respect jury verdicts and do not discuss offensively on the competition results
(there is only one fist prize, and designboom usually asks renown professionals to help us to promote talent.
in addition to the awarded designs, we do feel that almost all deserve our attention, that is why we publish
the best 100-200 entries too.)

a link is allowed in comments as long as they add value in the form of information, images, humor, etc. (links to the front page of your personal blog or website are not okay). unwelcome links (to commercial products or services of others, offensive material etc. ) will be redacted. and, ... yes, spam gets banned. no, we do not post fake comments.

architecture news