Guangzhou South Railway Station

Along with Beijing South Railway Station, Guangzhou South was built as one of four new hubs serving China’s fast-growing high-speed rail network. Catering to a regional catchment area home to over 300 million people, the station was the largest in Asia upon opening in January 2010, as well as one of the largest on earth.

Built in a rural area some 17 kilometres from Guangzhou’s city centre, the station sits at the heart of the Pearl River Delta megacity, and will be the terminus of Hong Kong’s Express Rail Link after 2018. It is intended as a catalyst for growth in Panyu District. A new urban precinct of nearly 500 hectares is under construction around the station, which has become a significant driver of the regional economy.

In order to accommodate heavy patronage, anticipated to reach 300,000 passengers daily by 2030, a clear vertical organisation strategy was adopted. Segregation of arriving and departing passengers, below and above the platform level respectively, allows for boarding and alighting of trains in the shortest distances and times possible. Convenient interchange to buses, cars, and two Guangzhou Metro lines is provided beneath the 28 intercity platforms.

The station is arranged over six storeys, with voids accommodating lifts and escalators. At the uppermost level, a linear pedestrian concourse serves as a central unifying element, helping passengers orient themselves within the massive station. It is naturally lit by a glass skylight flanked on either side by the station’s characteristic vaulted roof. This convex structure is broken up by openings that allow soft natural light to filter into the waiting areas and railway platforms.