subway architecture
subway architecture
dec 01, 2009

subway architecture




london’s underground became the first subway system in the world when it began operation in 1863. since then, underground subways have been built in almost every major city of the world. from new york and paris to hong kong and dubai, subways are an essential part of public transportation in cities. within these systems, architecture plays a big role in defining the environment of the subway. here is a collection of some of the most architecturally interesting subway stations.

subway architecture T-centralen station (photo via flickr)



stockholm tunnelbana

the subway system in stockholm, sweden features art installations in almost every station. the city’s 100 stations  feature art by almost 140 artists and it is often called the world’s longest art gallery. the system may focus on artwork, but it also features a number of stations with unusual architecture. the t-centralen station is one of the most distinctive designed by per olof ultvedt in 1975. the station features a massive mural painted on the cavern-like ceiling that exposes the rocky core of the city. many of the system’s stations also feature this unique cavern ceiling that gives them an organic feeling and unique atmosphere.

subway architecture stockholm tunnelbana station (photo via flickr)

subway architecture solna centrum station (photo via flickr)

subway architecture westfriedhof station light installation by ingo mauer (photo via flickr)




munich U-bahn

munich’s uU-bahn subway system only began in 1972, but it has quickly grown into a 98 station system spread across the entire city. because of its young age munich had the advantage of learning from the mistakes of other systems creating spacious and efficient stations. while the first stations were quite plain, the architecture of its new stations is often quite daring. some stand out stations include the colourful dulferstrasse station designed by peter lanz and jurgen rauch and westfriedhof, which features lighting installations by ingo mauer.

subway architecture candidplatz station (photo via flickr)

subway architecture georg-brauchle ring station with installation by franz ackermann (photo via flickr)

subway architecture st. quiren platz station by hermann + ottl (photo via flickr)

subway architecture bilbao metro station by foster+partners




bilbao metro

the bilbao metro is unusual among subway systems since it was designed and engineered as a whole. the stations were all designed by foster+partners, who set to use dramatic curved forms to create a signature look for the city’s transportation infrastructure. inside the stations, the space was kept as open as possible, using the full height and width of the underground tunnels. above ground, each station features a curved glass entrance that is reminiscent of a shell and became known as a fosteritos by locals. 

subway architecture bilbao metro station by foster+partners

subway architecture bilbao metro station by foster+partners

subway architecture bund sightseeing tunnel (photo via flickr)




shanghai – bund sightseeing tunnel

the bund sightseeing tunnel located in shanghai, china isn’t technically a subway system but rather a short distance transporter. measuring only 647m long, the train tunnel connects the bund to pudong. along the way  the rider is bombarded with lighting effects, music and special effects that turn the ride into something out of this world.

subway architecture trains in the bund sightseeing tunnel (photo via flickr)

subway architecture bund sightseeing tunnel (photo via flickr)

subway architecture dubai metro station by aedas (photo via flickr)



dubai – metro station

one of the world’s newest subway systems is the automated rail network in dubai which officially opened in september of 2009. the red line which includes 10 stations is the first part of the project to be completed and features the aedas designed metro station. the international firm was selected to design all 47 stations in the new system along with two rail depots. this particular station features a curved rood design that covers the station and lets light in through small windows. the iconic building is just the start of a series of stations that will push the boundaries for subway architecture.

subway architecture dubai metro station by aedas (photo via flickr)

subway architecture dubai metro station by Aedas (photo via flickr)

subway architecture iidabashi station by makoto sei watanabe architects (photos via tokyo buildings)




tokyo – iidabashi station

tokyo is well known for being one of the busiest subway systems is the world, but so well known for its subway architecture. the oedo line in tokyo is the newest in the city’ massive system and features some interesting designs like iidabashi station designed by makoto sei watanabe architects. the station was built in 2000 and features a distinctive faced clad with massive curved steel and glass forms. inside the station has numerous design features including a geometric green light sculpture running the length of the escalator shaft. the station’s design is also significant since it was create through computer generated forms.

subway architecture iidabashi station by makoto sei watanabe architects

subway architecture iidabashi station by makoto sei watanabe architects

subway architecture iidabashi station by makoto sei watanabe architects (photo via flickr)

subway architecture line a station (photo via flickr)





prague – line A

prague’s subway system has a diverse array of station designs that span numerous architectural styles. the line a stations all feature distinctive tile cladding that gives them a futuristic feel. each station along the line has a different colour of aluminum tile that is repeated in concave or convex patterns. the tiles are installed along the tracks and curve up the wall and onto the ceiling. this subtle variation from station to station gives riders a navigation system to guide them on their travels.

subway architecture line A station (photo via flickr)

subway architecture komsomolskaya station (photo via flickr)




moscow – komsomolskaya station

moscow’s komsomolskaya station definitely goes down as the most elaborate subway station. the design was built in the 1930’s and features large chandeliers, vaulted plaster ceilings and arched walkways. the classical design of the space gives the station a palatial feeling, not something you see in most subways. the station also boasts hand painted frescoes and detailed plaster moulding on almost every surface.

subway architecture komsomolskaya station (photo via flickr)

subway architecture museum station by diamond+schmitt architects




toronto – museum station

while most of the subways stations in toronto are very traditional, one newly remodeled station stands out. museum station is located right below the city’s royal ontario museum which was recently added to by daniel libeskind. the new station replaces simple columns with recreations of the museum’s collection including egyptian sarcophaguses, totem poles and mayan statues. the station also haswalls clad with large aluminum panels that are cut-out with the station name to reveal a hieroglyphics pattern behind. the unique station links the subway with the museum above.

subway architecture museum station by diamond+schmitt architects

subway architecture drassanes station by on-a arquitectura




barcelona – drassanes station

the spanish firm on-a arquitectura recently remodeled the barcelona subway station drassanes. the space’s new design was based on the concept of using the same materials as the subway cars that drive through the station. a white concrete covers the walls and slowly blends into the floors which were made vibration proof. the ceiling was made black to contrast the white and is lined with long angular light fixtures. other corridors in the station feature a mosaic of oversized tiles in a variety of vivid colours.

subway architecture drassanes station by on-a arquitectura

subway architecture drassanes station by on-a arquitectura


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  • Wow, I didn’t thought that there is such a beautiful place like this! It’s really elegant and also futuristic. I wish that I could have a time visiting these places.

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  • Mexico has nicest as well….taxqueña for example 🙂 hahaha

    el nene
  • Oh My God ..It looks like dream land… wonderfulllllllllllllllllllllllll

  • Nice to see Moscow included, too bad that the pics included don’t show more modern stations. [url=] This blog [/url] has very nice photos of stations (old & new) and infrastructure, including stations under construction.
    Blog posts/Photo captions are in Russian.

  • Toronto’s Museum Station? You got to be kidding. The design is cheesy and looks unfinished. The ceiling was completely ignored and still has cracks and water stains. Only the platform was redone – the mezzanine/ticket booth still has the original yellow tiles. A year after the renovation, the columns are already covered in dark soot/dust and in disrepair.

  • Tienen que ver el TUNEL DE LA CIENCIA LA BOVEDA CELESTE del metro la Raza de Mexico.

    Luisbeto Muñoz Franco
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