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Liège Guillemins TGV Station
Santiago Calatrava

November 02, 2009 /

Liège, Belgium

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Photo © Thomas Mayer

Liège is a major node in the European high speed rail network; an indispensable link between London, Paris, Brussels and Germany.

The new Liège Guillemins station links two very distinct areas of Liége, previously divided by the railway tracks, the north side towards the city, a typical run-down 19th century urban area, and the Cointe Hill to the south, a landscaped residential area.

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Photo © Thomas Mayer

The concept for the design was transparency and an urban dialog with the city. Transparency is translated by the monumental vault, constructed of glass and steel, with its soaring canopies extending 145 meters over the five platforms. The huge glass building replaces the traditional facade and establishes a seamless interaction between the interior of the station and the city.

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Photo © Thomas Mayer

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Photo © Thomas Mayer

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Photo © Thomas Mayer

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Photo © Thomas Mayer

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Photo © Thomas Mayer

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Photo © Thomas Mayer

The station is organized vertically: Towards the Place de la Gare the rail platforms and the access footbridge stack over 3 levels. Towards Cointe Hill, ten meters above, there are five levels; three parking levels, a vehicular access deck linking with the footbridge, and a raised pedestrian walkway.

At the Place de la Gare level, reinforcing the urban streetscape, is a continuous strip of commercial units. Pedestrian bridges and walkways under the tracks allow for fluid communication between the two sides of the station. The grand Passenger Hall and the SNCB ticketing area are located on the main axis.

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Photo © Thomas Mayer

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Photo © Thomas Mayer

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Photo © Thomas Mayer

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Photo © Thomas Mayer

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Photo © Thomas Mayer

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Photo © Thomas Mayer

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Photo © Thomas Mayer

The project has no facade in the traditional sense, since the interaction between interior and exterior is seamless. The monumental roof becomes, in effect, the project's facade. To an observer on the hill, the roof reveals something of the inner organization of the station. To an observer within the station, the structural arches of the roof frame the views to the outside. From any vantage point, the sensation of transparency prevails.

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Sketch courtesy Santiago Calatrava

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Drawing courtesy Santiago Calatrava

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Drawing courtesy Santiago Calatrava

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Drawing courtesy Santiago Calatrava

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Model photo courtesy Santiago Calatrava

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Model photo courtesy Santiago Calatrava

The Pont des Guillemins, also by Santiago Calatrava, connects the motorway that crosses Liège to the 800 space parking facility at the Liège Guillemins TGV Station.

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Photo © Thomas Mayer

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Photo © Thomas Mayer

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Photo © Thomas Mayer

Like the Campo de Volantín Footbridge in Bilbao, the design of the Pont des Guillemins consists of a rectilinear torsion tube, to which the bridge elements are welded, radiating to form the arc of the circle described by the plan of the deck. The arch is made of a steel tube welded at each end to the torsion tube of the deck. The combination of the curve of the deck, and the straight lines of tube and vertical projection of the arch, emphasizes the effect of suspended movement.

My goal was to create a building that reflects the new stations potential significance as a high speed inter-urban link between Europe's cities.
I imagined a building without facades with a soaring roof above offering protection from the elements (particularly the ever present rain of the Belgian Winter).

This could maintain the views through and of the station. The vaulted shape was a natural development of this vision while the soft (perhaps feminine) undulating curve of the roof was selected to mimic the graceful rise and fall of the Cointe hills beyond.I felt that there was no better way to celebrate the technological achievement of the TGV trains than to expose the working platforms and the dynamism of the moving ensemble of passengers and trains.

/Santiago Calatrava
Excerpted from Architect's Statement

Facts about Liège Guillemins TGV Station

Client:

SNCB Holding
Infrabel and Euro Liège TGV

Last updated: December 19, 2013

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