Although subway stations may not be seen as tourist attractions just yet, this may start to change. All over the world, transportation nodes are holding their own in the design and architecture industry, and soon Toronto will have six new stations by world-renowned architects Will Alsop and Norman Foster, which will hopefully compete. (Stay tuned for Spacing Radio’s interview with Alsop in January!)
Recently a number of creatively designed subway stations have come across our desks as Spacing, so to get inspired for Toronto’s new TTC lines and stations, we thought we’d share some of them with you!
In Los Angeles this fall, Lumenscape, a public art installation, was launched at the Wilshire and Western Metro Purple Line Station, serving as a bright gateway between the station and Solair, the mixed-use condominium building above. Designed by Rob Ley, of Urbana, and in collaboration with Lendrum Fine Art, the piece creates an “undulating environment of shifting coloured light.”
Often known as the ‘world’s longest art gallery’, the Stockholm subway system contains artwork by almost 140 artists. Many of the stations show the rock from which they are carved, like the one above, designed by Per Olof Ultvedt in 1975.
With the benefit of learning from others mistakes, Munich’s U-bahn system contains 98 stations, most of which started out quite plain, but have grown increasingly daring over the years. The colourful Candidplatz station was designed by the architectural firm Egon Konrad in 1997 and begins with violets at the norther end, turning to red, yellow, green and ending with dark blue to the south.
Norman Foster’s design for the Bilbao Metro system is unique in that it was designed as a whole. The stations use the full height and width of the tunnels, creating open comfortable spaces. At street level, the unique curved glass entrances, or ‘Fosteritos’, draw the crowds down to the trains.
In Dubai, the world’s newest subway system was designed by Aedas and is fully automated. While the final rail network will contain 47 stations, the first completed section is the red line, which includes ten stations. As with many of the buildings in Dubai, these curved-roof transportation hubs have pushed architecture into a new direction.
On home turf, the remodeling of Toronto’s Museum Station, by Diamond+Schmitt, has made it distinctive from the usually mundane TTC buildings. Iconic symbols of totem poles and Egyptian sarcophaguses provide clues to Royal Ontario Museum, which lies above at street level. The architects also worked with the TTC on lighting, wayfinding and furniture within the station.