ZHA ranks first in design competition to renovate Vilnius railway station

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’ ‘Green Connect’
proposal creates an integrated transportation hub for the 21st century with new
civic spaces enveloped by nature.

Gianluca Racana, Zaha Hadid Architects’
Director said, “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.
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.”

Integral to the city’s ongoing sustainability
agenda that prioritizes pedestrians and cyclists, Zaha Hadid Architects’
proposal to upgrade Vilnius railway station incorporates a new public bridge
over the railway tracks that connects the Naujininkai district to the south
with the city centre and Vilnius old town; transforming the existing rail
infrastructure from being a 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.

The renovation and reuse of the original
station creates a new 9,500 sq. m concourse bridge that is a contemporary
reinterpretation informed by the existing heritage building.

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. 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. 

Removing the temporary kiosks and offices
installed over recent decades, the clarity of the existing 9,000 sq. m station
is restored and linked with a new public transport terminal for the city’s bus
networks. Designed as an inhabited landscape within the upgraded Stoties Square
park in front of the station, the terminal’s outdoor amphitheatre and ramp lead
to a public terrace on its roof.

Relocating 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 and
4,000 sq. m of landscaping including the creation of tree-lined avenues along
its main axes and water gardens for the natural collection, filtration and
purification of rainwater.

The new concourse bridge is 46 metres wide
and spans 150 meters across the railway platforms. Supported 10 metres above
the tracks, the fluid forms of the bridge’s roof structure 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.

Nature-based solutions are integral to the
design. Green roofs, landscaping and planting will lower temperatures in summer
and provide heat insulation in the winter. 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.

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. Annual solar radiation analysis has defined
the facades 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.

Vilnius Mayor Remigijus Šimašius said, “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. 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.”

Mantas Bartuška, Head of Lietuvos
Geležinkeliai (LTG), the company managing the country’s railway network, said, “In a modern city, the station is no longer
just a building where you can buy a ticket or sit before your trip. The station
and its surroundings must become a destination providing public spaces with
leisure and service areas, convenient connections for pedestrians, cyclists and
all those who choose to travel comfortably and sustainably by train. As a
result, we are determined to open and convert the station’s formerly
inaccessible industrial spaces for use by all residents.”

Vilnius’ Chief Architect Mindaugas Pakalnis
said, “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. 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.”

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The organizers of the architectural competition
are Lietuvos Geležinkeliai, the company LTG Infra, which manages the country’s
railway network, and Vilnius City Municipality. The organizers of the
competition are represented by the consulting company Civitta and the
Lithuanian Union of Architects.

Source: zaha hadid

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