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Zaha Hadid Architects to renovate Vilnius Railway Station prioritizing pedestrians and cyclists

Lithuania Architecture News - Sep 24, 2021 - 13:44   2290 views

Zaha Hadid Architects to renovate Vilnius Railway Station prioritizing pedestrians and cyclists

Zaha Hadid Architects has been ranked first in a design competition to renovate Vilnius Railway Station that prioritizes pedestrians and cyclists by creating new civic spaces enveloped by nature in Lithuania

ZHA's proposal, called "Green Connect" will create an integrated transportation hub for the 21st century of new civic spaces. 

Reflecting ZHA's deep-rooted design approach, fluid lines, layered landscape elements and undulating roof structure of the station are overlapped to provide a visual and functional coherence.

As ZHA explains in its press statement, "the evaluation commission of the international architectural competition to select the best concepts for the redevelopment of the Vilnius railway station complex and surrounding area awarded the highest ranking to the proposal by Zaha Hadid Architects."

Zaha Hadid Architects to renovate Vilnius Railway Station prioritizing pedestrians and cyclists

Image © Negativ

"It is an honour to be awarded highest ranking in this competition for such a strategically important site for Vilnius. ‘Green Connect’ will be a future-proof transport hub designed with the passenger experience in mind," said Gianluca Racana, Zaha Hadid Architects’ Director.

"Providing a wealth of new public space, our proposals transform the site into a destination not only for those using the transportation hub but also for the city of Vilnius and the local community."

Zaha Hadid Architects to renovate Vilnius Railway Station prioritizing pedestrians and cyclists

Image © Negativ

ZHA's design scheme, following the city’s ongoing sustainability agenda that prioritizes pedestrians and cyclists, will renovate the existing Vilnius railway station and incorporate a new public bridge over the railway tracks that connects the Naujininkai district to the south with the city centre and Vilnius old town. 

The proposal will transform the existing rail infrastructure by removing its barrier that divides the city into a connector that unites Vilnius and serves as a transport hub for national and local rail services in addition to the new Rail Baltic line that links with Europe’s high-speed network.

Covering a total of 9,500-square-metre area, this area will include the renovation, the reuse of the original station and concourse bridge that is a contemporary reinterpretation informed by the existing heritage building.

Zaha Hadid Architects to renovate Vilnius Railway Station prioritizing pedestrians and cyclists

Image © Negativ

"The composition of the station’s new bridge gradually transforms along its length; from the pitched roof defined by the existing neoclassical station’s triangular pediment into softer geometries and volumes that reduce in scale to land at Pelosos Street in the Naujininkai district," said Zaha Hadid Architects. 

"A linear skylight along the length of the bridge and glazed facades over the railway tracks provide natural light and intuitive navigation through the concourse." 

Zaha Hadid Architects to renovate Vilnius Railway Station prioritizing pedestrians and cyclists

Image © Negativ

The ZHA team will remove the temporary kiosks and offices installed over recent decades, while the team will restore the existing 9,000-square-metre station and link it with a new public transport terminal for the city’s bus networks. 

In front of the station, the studio will design an inhabited landscape within the upgraded Stoties Square park and the terminal’s outdoor amphitheatre and ramp will lead to a public terrace on its roof.

Zaha Hadid Architects to renovate Vilnius Railway Station prioritizing pedestrians and cyclists

Image © Negativ

The studio will relocate the existing car parking in Stoties Square to a new underground facility, the square and its adjacent park will become a vibrant civic space for the city with over 300 new trees. 

The design will incorporate 4,000 square meters of landscaping with the creation of tree-lined avenues along its main axes and water gardens for the natural collection, filtration and purification of rainwater.

Zaha Hadid Architects to renovate Vilnius Railway Station prioritizing pedestrians and cyclists

Image © Negativ

The new 46-metre-wide concourse bridge will span 150 meters across the railway platforms. The bridge will be supported 10 metres above the tracks, and common in ZHA's design, the roof of the bridge is designed with fluid forms and the terraced landscape of the bus terminal are constructed in locally-sourced laminated timber that is lightweight, fire resistant and incorporates low embodied carbon.

As ZHA highlights, the overall design will integrate nature-based solutions, such as green roofs, landscaping and planting will lower temperatures in summer and provide heat insulation in the winter. 

Zaha Hadid Architects to renovate Vilnius Railway Station prioritizing pedestrians and cyclists

Image © Frontop

"Creating an interconnected series of natural habitats within the city, these urban green spaces are easily accessible and can be enjoyed by communities throughout the year to enhance wellbeing and interaction," said ZHA.

Zaha Hadid Architects' design to renovate Vilnius Railway Station and surrounding areas also incorporates energy production technologies and depolluting strategies to improve air quality within its adjacent neighbourhoods. 

Zaha Hadid Architects to renovate Vilnius Railway Station prioritizing pedestrians and cyclists

Image © Frontop

The ZHA team devised annual solar radiation analysis to define the facades' performance to maximise sunlight within its interiors in winter and reduce glare in the summer. "This analysis also determined the positioning of photovoltaic panels for optimum efficiency," as the team detailed. 

"We are working to ensure that the entire station district, including the railway station, bus station, public transport terminal and square, meets the criteria for the city we are developing today: green, comfortable and inspiring," said Vilnius Mayor Remigijus Šimašius.

"We are already investing in the surrounding spaces and are ready to invest even more in the square, the streets and the new, more comfortable and greener face of Vilnius," Šimašius added.

Zaha Hadid Architects to renovate Vilnius Railway Station prioritizing pedestrians and cyclists

Image © Frontop

"We received many strong proposals that can enrich the architectural face of the city. Designers of the commission's preferred concept, Zaha Hadid Architects, know Vilnius and have extensive experience designing detailed projects that include the Rail Baltica railway station in Tallinn," said Vilnius’ Chief Architect Mindaugas Pakalnis. 

"The concept presents a unique, recognizable, contextually appropriate design for the new station terminal that creates network of public spaces of the highest quality and establishes important connections between the Naujininkai, Naujamiestis and Senamiestis districts of the city." 

"In addition, it successfully combines functional and aesthetic solutions and creates opportunities to convert the former railway maintenance yard and surrounding areas. Of course, this is only an initial idea that can be explored and developed in detail," added Pakalnis.

Zaha Hadid Architects to renovate Vilnius Railway Station prioritizing pedestrians and cyclists

Image © Frontop

Zaha Hadid Architects to renovate Vilnius Railway Station prioritizing pedestrians and cyclists

Image © Frontop

Zaha Hadid Architects to renovate Vilnius Railway Station prioritizing pedestrians and cyclists

Image © Frontop

Zaha Hadid Architects will work with Italy, Switzerland and Germany-based landscape firm LAND srl on the project. CLOUD architektai will serve as Local Executive Architect on the project. 

Zaha Hadid Architects recently completed Eleftheria Square in Cyprus, the project won the WA Award in the 38th Cycle, selected by the votes of Honorary Members and Winners in earlier cycles.

Project facts

Architect: Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA)

Design: Patrik Schumacher
ZHA Director: Gianluca Racana
ZHA Project Directors: Ludovico Lombardi, Michele Salvi
ZHA Project Associate: Davide del Giudice
ZHA Project Team: Alexandra Fisher, Jose Navarrete Deza, Maria Lagging, Richard Maekallas, May Harper

ZHA Sustainability Team: Carlos Bausa Martinez, Megan Smylie, Taras Kashko, Vera Kichanova

Consultants

Local Executive Architect: CLOUD architektai
Engineers: Sweco Lietuva UAB
Landscape Architect: LAND srl

Top image © Negativ

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