This summer, the Chinese city of Jiaxing will welcome an innovative transportation hub that will be topped with a lush “borderless park” to bring nature back to the urban environment. Designed by international design firm MAD Architects, the 35.4-hectare project will feature a new Jiaxing Train Station topped with solar panels, a pair of plazas, a commercial zone, a transit hub and a renovation of the adjacent People’s Park. The main transportation and commercial functions will be tucked underground while an expansive green roof surrounded by trees will grow atop to create a “train station in the forest.”

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A bird's-eye view of a train station surrounded by trees.

Currently under construction with completion expected by July 2021, Jiaxing’s “Train Station in the Forest” will blend MAD Architects’ signature futuristic forms with designs rooted in the city’s historic and cultural contexts. In addition to green-roofed, disc-shaped transit buildings located at the site’s transportation hub in the south, the project will feature a one-to-one scale rebuilding of the historic Jiaxing Train Station. This station was an early 20th-century building that served as an important junction for the Shanghai-Hangzhou Railway Line, but it was destroyed by war in 1937. The old station will be faithfully recreated at the heart of the site with the help of scholars, consultants and experts in heritage architecture; once complete, the single-story building will serve as the Jiaxing Railway History Museum. 

Related: MAD’s ethereal Yiwu Grand Theater will “float” on Zhejiang waters

The interior of a modern, white and silver train station with two trees in the middle and a curving staircase.

To bring natural light deep into the underground train station, the architects have designed a system of skylights and glass curtain walls to flood the subterranean concourse, platforms and waiting halls with daylight. The station’s “floating” metal roof will be topped with solar panels and greenery to blend in with the surrounding trees. The train station is expected to accommodate 5.28 million people per year with a peak-time capacity of 2,300 people per hour. The train station will be connected to the mixed transit hub in the south via an underground commercial zone that will also include above-ground retail spaces. 

The exterior of a modern, curving train station with a white and glass facade.

“MAD believes that a city’s best urban spaces should belong to everybody,” the architects said. “Architecture, sunlight, nature, and fresh air should work in harmony to be shared by all; creating an environment where people can both live and travel with convenience, dignity, and comfort.”

+ MAD Architects

Images via MAD Architects