R9 Station

R9 Station

Kaohsiung Rapid Transit Corporation (KRTC) is a private sector investment company established by the Kaohsiung municipal government in 1999 to deliver the city’s first underground system.

Two underground lines will initially form this new underground system. The Red line, which runs along a North-South axis opened in early 2008; the Orange line running along an East-West axis is still under construction. R9 is the 9th station along the length of the Red line. It has been designed to serve Kaohsiung’s popular Central Park and an adjacent shopping district.

The design of R9 seeks to draw the landscaping down from the park into the station through the main entrance. A sloped, green bank helps to lead people down to concourse level, some 11 metres below ground level. The design of the canopy draws natural light underground and creates a meeting area for people entering and exiting the station below.

Two sets of escalators – plus linear staircases on either side – allow people to move between the concourse level and the park level. The up/down escalators are divided by a cascading water feature which helps to animate the approach to the underground concourse.

A large aluminium canopy oversails the entire below ground concourse, protecting this area from strong sunlight and rainfall.  Aluminium was chosen as the canopy material both for its lightness and its durability and resistance to corrosion. 

Early on in the design process, the use of a suspended roof was considered for this part of the structure; however, the final design is a curved, stressed skin monocoque roof, with the shape of the canopy being that of a concave trapezoid. Across the canopy’s top surface are a large number of glazed openings filled with frosted glass. On the underside, these openings are perforated to ensure that natural light can reach the concourse underneath, while – at the same time – helping to dissipate the glare of the sun.

The canopy is approximately 50 m by 50m. In engineering terms, manufacturing a curved canopy on this scale is a significant challenge. However, the project team was able to rely on the highly specialised skills of engineers and fabricators from Taiwanese marine engineers familiar with the use of aluminium in the design and construction of new ships. Work to produce the canopy was – in fact – undertaken in a local shipyard.

The manufacturing process allowed the canopy to be fabricated in 13 separate segments, some of which were then partially assembled before transporting them to site (a technique which the practice had previously employed in the design of the roof elements of the Antwerp Law Courts). The various components of the canopy were then assembled and welded together in Central Park, next to the site, before being lifted into place using four cranes.

The canopy – which weighs 220 metric tonnes –sits on four yellow steel ‘trees’. When lit from below at night-time, the canopy – covered in a gloss-white finish – appears to float in the dark sky. RSHP has also designed two sub-entrances on the other side of Chung-Shan Road. These have their own distinctive aluminium monocoque canopies supported on smaller yellow steel trees.

In addition to the main entrance of R9 station, RSHP has specified the station interior finishes. Most of the interior walls are covered by pre-fabricated mosaic panels, while the ceiling comprises perforated aluminium panels backed by sound absorbent fabric.

Project Name R9 Station
Place/Date Kaohsiung, Taiwan 2003-2007
Client Kaohsiung Rapid Transit Corporation
Building Area 14,300 m2
Architect Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners
Lennart Grut, Ivan Harbour, Aki Kageyama, Amo Kalsi, Sanekazu Kofuku, Stephen Macbean, Annie Miller, Andrew Partridge, Richard Rogers, Yoshi Uchiyama, Misako Unno, Ben Warner, David Weng
Co-Architect Resource Engineering Service, Inc.
Structural Engineer Structured Environment
Service Engineer Resource Engineering Service, Inc. 
Contractor Far Eastern Construction Co. Ltd.
Pan Asia Corporation
Iwata Chizaki Inc.

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