Guangzhou South Railway Station

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

Guangzhou South is located in a rural area 17 kilometres from Guangzhou city centre and sits at the heart of the Pearl River Delta megacity. As a result, the station is primed to serve as the terminus of Hong Kong’s Express Rail Link come 2018, functioning as a catalyst for growth in the district of Panyu — evidence of which can already be seen. In addition to this, a new urban precinct of nearly 500 hectares is under construction around the station.

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. Furthermore, convenient interchange to buses, cars, and two Guangzhou Metro lines is provided beneath the 28 intercity platforms.

All of this 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. In an emphatic display of structural tectonics, the station’s expansive interior concourse is bathed in daylight courtesy of a wide-spanning skylight, flanked on either side by a vaulted roof, equally monumental in scale. The convex structure is broken up by openings that allow soft natural light to filter into the waiting areas and railway platforms.