Vilnius station is getting a big Zaha Hadid glow – but is that a good thing?
How we all want to travel better after the pandemic, trains could be The future of European travel. And in Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania, they seem to think so. Pictured above are the epic new plans to refurbish the main train station, a colossal, hyper-modern development set to completely transform the city’s station district, which has just been named one of the world’s the coolest neighborhoods.
Led by the UK architects Zaha Hadidi.ehe Green Connect the project includes a plan to renovate Vilnius station and the square next to it. The main highlight of the project is an impressive bridge 46 meters wide and 150 meters long.
Happily, there are plenty of nods to sustainability: Zaha Hadid’s designs include solar panels, bike lanes, a pedestrian walkway and a well-crafted curved wooden roof. The bridge will not only provide a new connection between the neighborhoods on either side of the train tracks, but will also act as a spacious, light-filled concourse.
Meanwhile, the square will be revamped with a new bus station and, as the name Green Connect suggests, tons of trees, grass and various shrubs. With such an ambitious plan, it’s easy to see why Zaha Hadid won the competition for the location.
However, some may be disappointed that the Vilnius station is changing at all. The current building is a majestic, cavernous creation, built on a height socialist realism – has a certain Soviet charm. No less fascinating is the gigantic image of Tony Soprano Platform, station bar. While Zaha Hadid’s designs suggest that much of the current facade should remain intact, it’s unclear whether or not the big tone will remain.
Currently, the Station district is the best place for art and culture in Vilnius. It’s full of underground music venues and outdoor art galleries, as well as its fair share of edgy cafes and restaurants. Let’s hope the area’s quirky charm remains after the station’s bright renovation.
Vilnius station is also not the only railway project in the Baltic States that is characterized by the magic of Zaha Hadid. The architecture office is also designing the Ülemiste station in Tallinn, Estonia, which is part of the new Rail Baltica the network. Running from Helsinki to Warsaw, through Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, the Rail Baltica project aims to improve communication throughout Central and Northern Europe.
But in the meantime, if you’re a huge fan of the unpolished look of the current Vilnius station? Better get up there while it’s still so beautifully bare. (And show some respect for the big tone while you’re at it.)
More futuristic plans: