Public transportation is not wildly popular in Saudi Arabia since fuel is so cheap and many households have private drivers to escort them from place to place, but the government is trying to shift public perception of this mode of movement by developing a brand new metro system. And Zaha Hadid has recently won a bid to design a futuristic new station in Riyadh.
This is the second time this week that the Iraqi starchitect has been featured on Green Prophet, as she has won the bid to team up with AECOM to design the Al Wakrah Stadium for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
The new metro station will be built at the edge of the massive 3,300,000 sq m King Abdullah Financial District in Riyadh and will act as a major interchange between three of six new metro lines. It will be a key interchange for line one, the airport terminus for line four and six.
Comprised of a series of undulating waves and a golden lattice that functions much like the ancient mashrabiya screen that filters sunlight and promotes natural ventilation, the station is a major transportation hub and a central public space.
The four story complex will feature six platforms, two levels of underground parking, and a a series of pedestrian pathways to promote smooth circulation of human traffic.
Passengers will also be able to reach the monorail via a sky bridge.
As is so often the case with Zaha Hadid, the design is futuristic, organic, dynamic and striking, but pays very little attention to the climatic and resource realities of the day.
Saudi Arabia is not going to run out of energy today or tomorrow, but the country is planning to invest a pile of money in order to take advantage of its solar resources in order to safeguard its oil as a key export commodity.
Yet not a single solar panel graces the roof of this metro station and nary a mention is made of the need to conserve the Kingdom’s water resources by using the most efficient building materials.
Nonetheless, we should be grateful that a swooping, sexy design by Zaha Hadid is likely to improve the appeal of public transportation in the Kingdom, which will have the indirect consequence of reducing Riyadh’s carbon emissions.