Railway Station in Saint-Denis, France
Located near a large sports stadium, the new station forms a salient feature in the heterogeneous surrounding urban fabric, above which it is elevated. The challenge for the architects was to create a station that could cope with up to 25,000 people an hour during big sporting events, but that would not appear deserted or out of proportion for the rest of the time. The difference in height of the two platforms, which each serve two tracks, was determined by the railway authorities. The split level is cleverly exploited to articulate the structure and to create views through it. To achieve a sense of transparency, the flat roofs, which echo the curving line of the tracks, are suspended from 14-metre-high steel masts and appear to hover over the platforms. The slender outer columns serve to prevent the roof from lifting as a result of wind loads and are subject only to tensile stresses. Broad top-light strips along the middle ensure adequate daylight conditions beneath. The underside of the roof is clad in timber to create a warm atmosphere. Areas of the platforms over the road underpass are also marked by wood pavings.