Train stations: 13 exciting transit architectures

Whether we attribute to them the anonymous and impersonal character of “non-places” or whether they are understood as propelling instruments for the development of the territory, the economy and society, stations are always nerve centres of life and possibilities.

Italian writer Stefano Benni says that ‘hope is a subtle little voice, you have to go and look for it where it comes from, look under your bed to hear it. Or come to a station’. And indeed, there is no place more full of possibilities than a station: a place of return or departure for a journey that at times, as Tiziano Terzani and Bruce Chatwin well knew, is not only physical but also existential; but also a ‘non-place’ par excellence, as Marc Augé used to say, which even if polished always manifests that anonymous character for which the individual ends up by feeling homologated and inevitably alone.

In any case, whether they are strictly functional transit buildings, impersonal and shabby, or prestigious and glossy architecture, stations are a place teeming with life and therefore potential: from the historic colonial stations in which one still senses a majestic (Grand Central Terminal in NY) and somewhat decadent aura (Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus in Mumbai, Kuala Lumpur Station, CFM Railway Station in Maputo); to the celebratory and politically-cultural representative ones (Haydarpasa Terminal in Istanbul, Komsomolskay Station in Moscow); to the futuristic and hyper-technological ones (Liège-Guillemins Station, Hungerburg Station in Innsbruck, Mediopadana Station in Reggio Emilia, World Trade Center Transportation Hub in New York) but also with a glimpse of the past (Kanazawa Station); to those from which one literally passes into another, imaginative dimension (King’s Cross in London).

In any case, stations are the place that more than any other nourish the thrill of dynamism and change and bring us face to face with an indubitable truth: that on this earth we are always and in any case ‘passengers’.

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