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Innovative metro line station design puts Shanghai in a ‘tube’

Innovative metro line station design puts Shanghai in a ‘tube’

2 Apr 2021 News

Opening before Chinese New Year 2021, Wutopia Lab was commissioned by Shentong Group to design the Shanghai Metro Line 15 Wuzhong Road Station. The station is conceived as more than a functional addition to the city’s infrastructure, as it has been envisioned as a social and symbolic reflection of Shanghai itself.  

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The ground conditions of Shanghai make the city unsuitable for below-ground metro construction. Nevertheless, it is the city with the longest-running mileage of subway in the world, continuously running far into the outer lying areas of Shanghai. Given the ground-level nature of the station, the architects developed the concept of the station as Shanghai’s Huangpu River, flanked by scenes of the city on either side.

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Using perforated aluminium panels, cascading city scenes are depicted along the station’s arching walls. Familiar landmarks, including several of the other important station building on the Shanghai Metro, are included along with abstract expressions of Shanghai’s skyscrapers. Reflective mirrored walls on both sides of the hall extend the visuals of the cityscape, as does the reflective nature of the black stone floor.

The structure of the station comprises a prefabricated large span stacked arch structure with a span of 21.6 meters. The result is a column-free platform hall.  It was both necessary and desirable to retain the exposed nature of the structure as the use of nails to fix the ceiling keel could potentially destroy the integrity of the prefabricated structure.

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The exposed nature of the structure posed several challenges, particularly when it came to locating air conditioning vents, sprinklers, lighting, cameras and evacuation instructions. Gaps between the prefabricated structural parts are used to embed the fire sprinkler pipes, which manifest as decorative lines. Floodlighting is situated in a gap under the cityscape to illuminate the ceiling from the ground while camera and evacuation indications are side-mounted.  

Air conditioning vents are divided into two different types and conditions. Circular vents are situated at the end wall of the station hall with the other vents incorporated into the three frosted stainless steel low walls that form the balustrade around the escalators and staircases.  

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Branch pipes, which are required and run along the arch-shaped walls at a height of 3-meters are concealed by a continuous, dark grey, perforated aluminium panel behind the urban silhouette. This additional panelling not only screens the pipes but serves as a background for the skyline and accentuates its representations.

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The arch curve of the structure at the entrance is modified to a half-circle shape in proportion. As a result, the space between the two curves can accommodate a massive integrated pipeline.  

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As the arch structure cannot impose structural keel nails, all aluminium panels are installed through a grid formed by welding secondary keels on the main keel at ground level. The panels are further folded to give a sense of visual thickness. The panels feature five sizes of perforation in different architectural and hierarchical levels to make the cityscape more layered in appearance, but also to reflect sound and light. LED modules are placed accordingly within the perforations.  

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Another specification of the subway station hall is a continuous water retaining wall at a height of 60 cm. Situated in front of the cityscape, the required wall is made of tempered glass with a gradient film. The film functionally indicates the presence of glass to prevent pedestrian collision while also creating the visually dramatic effect of the building slowing rising out of the morning mist.

The cityscape piece integrates functional/programmatic items like doorways and ticket machines, which cleverly becoming part of the city’s ‘architecture’. The abstracted portion of the skyline includes a continuous LED strip, which helps to guide passengers out of the station.

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The platform ceiling includes the same linear LED strip, the movement of the light synchronizing with the direction of the subway trains on either side of the platform.

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