A square with numerous community services
Vigo is a city on the west coast of Spain, just north of the Portuguese border and south of Santiago de Compostela. From rocky heights, the densely built city slopes seamlessly down towards the ocean. Woven into this dense urban fabric made up of countless smaller elements is the new Vialia Vigo intermodal station, conceived as a large public space by Morphosis Architects.
The Los Angeles-based international architecture and planning studio led the transformation of the existing train station into a vibrant, cosmopolitan center and a multimodal transport hub. The hub includes a new high-speed railway that connects Vigo to Madrid, a bus station, a car park with over 1500 parking spaces, cycle paths, pedestrian connections, and a vibrant shopping center with 125 shops, restaurants, cinemas, and food stores.
Numerous public spaces act as the connective tissue between these different elements of the project: besides the internal walkways between the station and car parks, the shops and the restaurants, the new 322,580 sq.ft. (30,000 m2) plaza – complete with a skate park and sports fields – connects the hub to the city, making it a new and integral part of it.
Reflecting the mountainous terrain of the coast, the volume of the station and shopping center occupy a plot of land with a 56-foot (17 m) drop in elevation between a hillside neighborhood and Vigo’s city center. The large roof spanning the station and shopping center was designed as a public plaza overlooking the sea, with native plants, activities, amenities, and pavilions that provide access to the lower floors.
The shopping center below is organized around a large central atrium perpendicular to the volume and illuminated by a skylight that opens onto the sea. The skylight connects with the windows that surround the building, which, in turn, create a connection with the city and port.
The main entrance to the station and the new shopping center is on the southwestern side, highlighted by an urban-scale metal canopy with the station’s name. The entrance replaces the 19th century volume of the old station, whose façade was dismantled and rebuilt on the southern side of the plaza.
Morphosis’ project for the new station in Vigo substantially changes the balances of the city, with the large urban construction contrasting with the small scale of the port city. This project was not only an opportunity to foster the city’s social and economic growth relative to the surrounding territory, but also to provide the community with a new public plaza where people can meet, interact, and admire the beauty of the bay and ocean.
Location: Vigo, Spain
Partner-In-Charge: Brandon Welling
Project Management: Riofisa Sau
Structural Engineer: Fhecor, Luis Casas
MEP Engineer: Inypsa Sa
Photography by Roland Halbe, courtesy of Morphosis