Huelva, a coastal city in southern Spain, will soon have a new high speed rail station to bring travelers to and from Madrid. A straightforward design proposed by Madrid-based Rafael de La-Hoz recently was awarded first prize in a competition to design the new station. Puerta Umbría is a grand gate and open door for travelers that relies on a large shading roof and sea breezes to keep the space cool.
Working from a blank slate, Rafael de La-Hoz designed the rail station free of old prejudices and based the design on elementary architectural gestures – a plane, a ceiling, a board – while shying away from “arrogant arches with extravagant curves”. The simple plane or flat roof is designed for receiving, protecting and giving shade to travelers. A simple linear station is proposed and one that has one entrance and exit for the high speed trains and another for the people. The open door to the station is both welcoming and an expression of success. Located at the terminus of the high speed rail line, Huelva is not a pass through station, but one where the trains come in and out of the same direction.
A perforated roof covering transforms the sunlight into “half-light” making the station below a shady place. Oriented to the east and west, the sun’s path travels in parallel to the station maximizing the shade. Meanwhile southwest winds from the ocean bring in cross ventilation ensuring that the interior has fresh and cool air even in the hottest part of the year.
Renderings Courtesy of Rafael de La-Hoz