Santiago Calatrava Unveils His Newly Designed Liege-Guillemins TGV Railway Station
NEW YORK, Sept. 10 /PRNewswire/ – On Friday, September 18th, Santiago Calatrava will unveil one of his most ambitious architectural projects to date; the Liege-Guillemins TGV Railway Station in Belgium. Designed by Calatrava to meet the demands of high-speed travel, the station will bring new life into the industrial city of Liege, while positioning it as the epicenter of the North European High-Speed Network
To celebrate the grand opening, Calatrava will attend a series of inaugural events hosted by SNCB Holding, which is part of the Belgian National Railway Group. The festivities will kick off on Wednesday, September 16th with a national press day and conclude the evening of Friday, September 18th, with a never-before-seen show, created specifically for the grand opening and performed by the Franco Dragone Entertainment Group; the company that was behind Cirque du Soleil. All events are scheduled to take place within the new Liege-Guillemins TGV Railway Station, and will offer media rare behind-the-scenes tours, Q & A sessions with Calatrava, VIP activities and more.
Presiding over the celebration will be: Prime Minister Herman Van Rompuy, international dignitaries and members of the royal family, including Prince Philippe of Belgium. Also expected to attend are members of the press and representatives from Euro Liege TGV and SNCB Holding including Jean-Claude Fontinoy (president), Jannie Haek (CEO) and Vincent Bourlard (general manager).
Calatrava was first commissioned to design the new Liege-Guillemins Station in 1996, after Euro Liege TGV determined that the existing station was unsuitable for the demands of high-speed rail travel. Immediately, the starchitect was faced with a seemingly impossible task; replacing the existing station without interrupting train service or disturbing the 36,000 people who frequent the facility on a daily basis. Using a technique normally employed in bridge construction, Calatrava was able to accommodate this request, while preserving the integrity of his design.
Envisioning a building that would reflect the new station’s significance as a high-speed, inter-urban link through Europe’s cities, the architect chose to expose the working platforms and the dynamism of the moving ensemble of passengers and trains. The result is a modern station whose high-speed network will provide shorter travel times to Aachen, Cologne and Brussels, as well as to Frankfurt, Paris, London and the Southern portions of Europe, which are only a few hours away. The Station’s high-speed trains will shorten the times of travel distances considerably, provide a scenic alternative for leisure travelers and enhance the efficiency of business travelers worldwide.
“It was my goal to create a 21st century transportation facility that would not only unite Liege with the rest of Europe, but would also serve as a symbol of the city’s renewal,” said Santiago Calatrava, designer of the Liege-Guillemins TGV Railway Station. “The project, as a whole, creates a new gateway into Liege and re-establishes a relationship with the city.”
Located within the Guillemins quarter, the new station occupies a more central position within the Meuse-Rhine Euro region and frames the city of Liege. The architect imagined a building without facades, with a soaring roof that would offer protection from Belgium’s natural elements, including its rainy winters. The effect is a flowing structure that illustrates Calatrava’s reoccurring theme of movement. “The vaulted shape of the roof was a natural development of this vision, while the soft, undulating curve was selected to mimic the graceful rise and fall of the Cointe Hills in the background,” continued Calatrava.
The Liege-Guillemins TGV Railway Station is the first part of a planned architectural vision for a corporate center in Belgium and is already asserting itself as the symbol of Liege’s renewal.
For additional information on Santiago Calatrava and/or the Liege-Guillemins TGV Railway Station please contact Jacqueline Platt at Corbin & Associates, LTD. at 646.233.0465 or Jacqueline@corbinpr.com.
ABOUT SANTIAGO CALATRAVA
Santiago Calatrava’s name has been most closely associated with his celebrated designs of bridges and transportation centers built throughout the world. He recently completed his design for the new World Trade Center Transportation Hub in Lower Manhattan and in 2010 will unveil the Agora, a multifunctional complex within Calatrava’s famed City of Arts and Science in Valencia. The building signifies the culmination of a 20-year-design and building project that, literally, created a city from a vast wasteland. Amongst his collection of internationally recognized work is the expansion of the Milwaukee Art Museum in Wisconsin (2001), the Athens Olympic Sports Complex (2004), the Light Rail Train Bridge in Jerusalem (2007) and the Quarto Ponte sul Canal Grande in Venice (2008).
SOURCE Santiago Calatrava