In order to improve the quality of life, a new metro system for the Saudi Arabian capital will be created. Gerber Architekten won the competition for the Olaya Matro Station in 2012. The design of the station reinterprets the Arabian desert landscape, recalls a minimalist dune and thus establishes a dialogue between tradition and future. This new oasis becomes a communicative meeting place of the city. The sculptural form creates a park which gradually rises upwards in gentle waves to become the roof of the Olaya Station. This dune park will answer the pressing need for more green urban space in Riyadh.
The main planning approaches are – beyond addressing the technical and functional complexity of an underground-station – to link the two crossing underground lines and combine them with a shopping mall. A further significant design objective is to ensure ease of access and orientation inside the building, which goes down to 30 metres below the ground, and to make the movement of people and trains inside the station clearly visible. The trains arrive through futuristic glass tubes and use the very latest in technology, developed and manufactured by Siemens. The completion of Olaya Metro Station is being coordinated with the overall network and final completion date is to be confirmed.
On entering the station, an open day-lit space presents itself to the visitor and reveals below the two crossing metro lines of this transportation hub. This view allows direct visual connection for passengers, ensuring easy orientation downwards towards the 100 metre long platforms for Metro Lines 1 and 2, where trains arrive and depart enclosed in glass tubes. The glazed facades, skylights and fabric membrane to the underside of the roof create an engaging, naturally lit atmosphere. Stairs, lifts and escalators interconnect all levels, providing immediate access and short travel distances from all entrances to the train platforms, the retail concourse, the public roof gardens and the public parking facilities located underneath the plaza.
Olaya Metro Station offers the city of Riyadh the amenities of a major transportation hub together with public gardens. A symbiosis is formed between the two: the dune park benefiting from accessibility by public transportation, while the Olaya Metro Station gains a significant destination in the form of the gardens. This public space provides a spacious landscape with graceful paved areas all naturally shaded by palm trees combined with water features, picnic areas, seating amphitheatres, wireless internet coverage and a terraced terrain for sitting or strolling.
For the first time an urban city space will be accessible by public transport; combined with the landscape architecture (also by Gerber Architekten), the overall concept of the Olaya Metro Station mediates between traditional and modern elements and creates an inclusive urban public space.