China’s premier high-speed rail line is capable of traveling upward of 300 kilometers per hour across the northeastern part of the country. The train’s terminal station will be located in the new mixed-use Tanggu District of Tianjin City, where SOM has designed an intermodal hub to serve more than 6,000 passengers during peak hours.
Sited within a 22-hectare park, the station’s the roof structure rises among a network of curving pedestrian paths. The roof was developed to be uniquely efficient, lightweight, and economical. Parabolic trusses evenly distribute loads across the surface of the building, while a lattice-like framework opens up views to the sky. Since the station’s platform level is located 21 meters below grade, skylights play an important role in the design. Fitted with louvers, the glass skylights and steel framework are angled to limit direct sunlight during summer months and enhance daylight during the winter.
Beneath the distinctive roof, the station is configured to allow passengers to move quickly and easily between trains and into the city. A large waiting room provides views to the rail platforms, while a clear system of walkways leads from the main waiting area into a mixed-use space. In addition to the high-performance lighting system, a series of sustainable strategies — including a ground-source heat pump, thermal chimneys, and bioswales — have been integrated into the design.