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Saturday, October 03, 2009

Liège-Guillemins TGV Railway Station, Liège, Belgium

Liège-Guillemins TGV Railway Station opens in Belgium
13 years in the making, and three years after topping off, the new high-speed rail station at Liège-Guillemins designed by eminent architect, Santiago Calatrava, has finally opened in Belgium. Billed as the 'epicetre of the North European High Speed Network', the station can now beat as the heart of any transport network should.

Members of the Belgian royal family together with international dignitaries and Calatrava himself attended opening celebrations which were all held within the structure. With less than 200,000 occupants in Liège, the station is set to provide a new pulse for the former industrial city, acting as the first part of a planned architectural vision for a corporate center in Belgium and the launch of Liège’s renewal.

Calatrava was first commissioned to design the new Liège-Guillemins Station in 1996, and was tasked with the seemingly impossible duty of replacing the existing station without disturbing the ongoing train services and daily passage of 36,000 people.

The results of his efforts are a cathedral for passage throughout Europe. The vast glass roof encases exposed working platforms and the dynamism of the moving ensemble of passengers and trains, asserting the urbanity and bustle represented within the high-speed network. The architect's vision of a building without facades adding to this energy. Commuters can now travel to Aachen, Cologne and Brussels, as well as to Frankfurt, Paris, London and the Southern portions of Europe at a modern pace through this monumental gateway.

“It was my goal to create a 21st century transportation facility that would not only unite Liège with the rest of Europe, but would also serve as a symbol of the city’s renewal,” said Calatrava. “The project, as a whole, creates a new gateway into Liège and re-establishes a relationship with the city.”

Niki May Young
News Editor

architecture NOW

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