After completing cable car designs in Gothenburg and Amsterdam, UNStudio has won a competition to design the Blagoveshchensk Cable Terminal for the world’s first cross-border cable car that will connect Russia and China. Presumably powered by electricity, the new form of public transport has been described by UNStudio’s founder Ben van Berkel to be “sustainable, extremely fast, reliable and efficient.”

The new cross-border cable car line will connect the northern Chinese city of Heihe with the Russian city of Blagoveshchensk. Separated by the Amur River that has formed a boundary between Russia and China since the mid-19th century, the two cities belong to a free trade zone and have historically been trading partners, particularly when the Amur River freezes over to allow passage by foot.

rendering of large white building with cable cars

The frozen Amur river as a platform for trade and commerce inspired UNStudio’s winning Cable Car Terminal design, which aims to build social connections between the two cultures. As a result, the terminal will feature diverse programming and curated views of both cities. The angular building will also comprise a series of landscaped terraces to create a new shared urban space — dubbed the Urban Tribune — that will serve as a cultural focal point on the waterfront for Blagoveschensk.

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“As it crosses the natural border of the Amur River, the Blagoveshchensk – Heihe cable car will be the first ever cable car system to join two countries and cultures,” van Berkel said in a project statement. “This context provided rich inspiration for the Blagoveshchensk terminal station, which not only responds to its immediate urban location but also becomes an expression of cultural identity and a podium for the intermingling of cultures.”

rendering of cable cars at dusk

The cable car line will comprise two lines and four cabins — each with a capacity of 60 passengers and extra space for luggage — and can whisk passengers from one city to the other in less than eight minutes.

+ UNStudio

Images via UNStudio